Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Paging Governor Perry – Death Panels in Texas

Texas Right to Life

UPDATE: Willie has been killed by a Texas Death Panel.  Details here.  Please pray for his family.  And Texas. And our country.

A Texas Hospital trying to kill patient sounds like a dire warning from Rush, Palin, Newt or a conservative novel.  BUT IT ALREADY HAPPENED THIS YEAR.

This was the HEADLINE by Kate Snow of ABC in 2009:


Tell that to Willie.

DIRECTLY FROM Texas Right To Life:

I'm not about to give you good news. A hospital is now actively killing a patient whose family called me at the 11th hour yesterday, pleading to save their father's life.

Despite the family's desperation to protect their father’s life, and everything Texas Right to Life did for them, the hospital's death panel declared his life futile and moved with steps to kill him.

I could not protect him, and I want to tell you what happened.

His name is Willie.

A few weeks ago, he was making plans to travel with his family for a vacation in Europe, but he had chest pains and went to the hospital to check what's wrong. To his surprise, they discovered pneumonia and, shockingly, leukemia.

His doctors suggested surgery and chemo.  Willie didn't want to die.  Before sedation, his daughter told me that he looked lovingly into her eyes and said, "Fight for me, baby; I ain't done living."
His family -- armed with a medical power of attorney -- obeyed his wishes and told the doctors to continue his medical care and treatment.

But his doctors disagreed. They had other plans.

They formed a committee under Texas law, which is essentially the same death panel laws found in Obamacare, to decide whether Willie should continue living in their hospital.

This death panel of hospital staff and a few doctors met at the hospital in northwest Houstonand decided that Willie's life was no longer worth living and told the family their decision. The panelists told Willie’s family that if they didn't agree with their decision, then to move him out of their hospital within ten days or they would pull the plug.

The family reached out to a social worker in the hospital to facilitate transfer to another facility - a facility that would care for Willie.  Willie's family would pay the transfer costs and other expenses for the healthcare the doctors were denying to him, on top of the ample insurance he had to cover his costs.
The social worker told them that she would try to find a location, and the family had no reason to believe otherwise.

But as the 10-day deadline approached, she told them that no facility would accept their father and there was nothing else that she could do.

When they heard her words, the family was silent. They couldn't even form words to express their unbelief and grief. Willie had insurance, after all, why would no one want to accept him?

Willie's family told me how they quickly realized the social worker had painted a picture of their father that no hospital wants: one who had no hope of meaningful recovery, one whose quality of life was gone, one with no dignity due to his illness and disability.

That's when they called Texas Right to Life.

My team and I spoke with many attorneys to take this case.  We even spoke with politicians to pull strings to save Willie's life. All of them were happy to help Willie, but neither the law nor time was on their side.

I even sent a message to a CEO of a hospital with a religious-sounding name to accept him.  No room at the inn.

Texas failed Willie. Our culture failed Willie.

With his family crying beside him at 5pm yesterday, the hospital stopped trying to heal Willie and then turned to try to kill him.

The family was helpless as they watched one by one, each treatment be stopped or withdrawn.

Although Willie breathed on his own through the night, he is being dehydrated and starved to death completely against the family's desire to keep him alive.

Because he hasn't been fed or given water, his heart rate is dangerously low. After he breathed steadily last night, the hospital discussed hospice with the family. Now however, the facility is letting Willie languish while he awaits his transfer to hospice.

Friend, this is not a letter that I ever want to send -- and I hope I never have to again -- but you need to know, as a Pro-Lifer, where our battleground is.

Yesterday we fought in a hospital, the very place we used to trust to save lives.

Please pray for Willie and for his family.

I will keep you informed...

Elizabeth Graham

For Media:

Elizabeth Graham,
Director of Texas Right to Life


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