21 March 2005

Bush's "pull the plug" law

Despite the wishes of Terry Schiavo, her spouse, and 19 judges in 10 different courts, the nation's Republican leadership has embarked upon a morality campaign, enacting legislation for the sake of a solo patient. Worse, it unravels in a fashion emblematic of Republican hyprocrisy, considering that in 1999, when Governor George W. Bush signed off on legislation that outright overides the patient's family wishes. Incredulously, White House press secretary Scott McClellan flat out lied when defending the Texas legislative act.
McClellan’s statement grossly distorts the nature of the law. The law does not ensure that actions are taken “in accordance with the wishes of the patient or the patient’s family.” In fact it codifies and legalizes the ability of doctors to stop treatment even if it goes against the explicit directive of the patient or the patient’s family.

In fact, here's a case of a Texas Children's Hospital patient that had the "plug pulled" despite wishes of the family. However, for Terry Schiavo, Bush rushed back to Washington to sign, after an emergency Sunday session in the House that went past midnight.

Texas law allows hospitals can discontinue life sustaining care, even if patient family members disagree. A doctor's recommendation must be approved by a hospital's ethics committee, and the family must be given 10 days from written notice of the decision to try and locate another facility for the patient.

Oh, if the family were blessed with wealth, they could, no doubt, secure care somewhere. Perhaps the Republican "culture of life" philosphy only exists for those with enough money.

And the Republicans have the audacity to say they stand for "limited government".