Texas Hospital Decides Patient Should Die; Takes Measure to Ensure Family Has No Input

While most Americans are focusing on the antics of the Obama administration, the three-ring media circus surrounding the terrorist attack in San Bernardino and Donald Trump’s remarks on banning Muslims from immigrating to the united States of America, a tragedy is being played out in Houston, Texas.  Hospital administrators at Houston Methodist Hospital have decided to euthanize a fully conscious 46-year-old man, who can understand and answer questions, against his wishes and the wishes of his mother.  The reason — he lacks health insurance.

This is the reality for Christopher Dunn and his mother, Evelyn Kelly, during this holiday season when “good will toward men” should prevail.

As a former professional registered nurse, the proposed action of these hospital administrators constitutes euthanasia,  which this former nurse, through ethics and legal instruction, believes to be unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional, immoral, reprehensible and subject to criminal prosecution regardless of the reason for such.  Many States have laws against participation in euthanasia by health care professionals, doctors and nurses.  In fact, Dr. Kevorkian should be foremost in the minds of many when reading this story.  Despite Dr. Kevorkian assisting patients in ending their life at the patients’ own request, a jury of his peers found him guilty after a lengthy court process.

Christopher Dunn nor his mother have requested any end of life measures such as euthanasia to be administered by hospital personnel.  It is a decision made by hospital officials based on a State statute, Section166.046 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, enacted under George W. Bush, serving as the Governor of Texas.  Dunn, his mother and their lawyers have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to save his life.

Christopher Dunn is a former sheriff’s deputy and former Homeland Security Officer who developed a noncancerous mass where his small intestines connect to his pancreas.  Dunn has been in the hospital since the mass was found, eight weeks, and has no health insurance.  According to Chris’s mother, Evelyn, the mass is squeezing the small intestine, affecting his liver and kidneys.  Chris is receiving oxygen and antibiotics “through two tubes down his throat” which inhibit his ability to speak.  His fluid and nutrition needs are being met intravenously.  Chris is conscious, coherent and mentally capable of making his own decisions regarding his care.  However, according to lawyers, Trey Trainor and Joe Nixon, Texas State statutes allow “a hospital the right to make life or death decisions without consulting the patient or the patient’s family.”

Upon visiting the Houston Methodist Hospital website, there were no documents that included the “rights of the patient” as identified in part by the American Medical Association.

Nixon, Chris’s attorney, told Breitbart Texas, “A criminal on death row in Texas has more rights than a patient in a Texas hospital.”

Hospital officials are fighting to stop his treatment and have filed for a court to appoint a guardian to make decisions for him.  Dunn filed suit but the hospital filed their own lawsuit asking that a guardian be appointed for Dunn.  Dunn and his mother, Evelyn Kelly, have been making choices regarding his care.

According to Evelyn Kelly, Chris’s mother, “The hospital wants to turn Chris’s nutrients and extra air off and they are playing God.  They want to kill my son.  They say there is nothing else they can do for him, but I don’t believe that.  When they found out that Chris did not have health insurance, they said they were done.”

Why would a hospital petition a court to appoint a guardian for a man who along with his own mother are capable of making sound treatment decisions?  Simple;  the hospital wants someone who will make the decision and side with their desire to murder Christopher Dunn.  This is exactly what these hospital officials are doing — committing murder sanctioned by a Texas statute because Christopher Dunn lacks health insurance.  Nothing less.

Ms. Kelly and Mr. Dunn received a letter from the Meeting Chair of the Houston Methodist Bioethics Committee, J. Richard Cheney.  The letter said “the Committee has decided that life-sustaining treatment is medically inappropriate for Chris and that all treatments other than those needed to keep him comfortable should be discontinued and withheld.”

Ms. Kelly asked the hospital ethics representative — “Who gave you the right to turn off life support from my son?!”  The hospital representative replied — “George Bush.”

Ms. Kelly stated to Breitbart that the hospital wants to administer a dose of morphine along with another drug she did not know the name of to Chris after removing the breathing apparatus.  Hospital representatives told her it would take only three to five minutes for Chris to die once the drugs were administered.

To receive the flippant answer of “George Bush” by a hospital representative to her question is beyond unreasonable.  It’s reprehensible, cold, distasteful and disgusting.  Despite the State statute, where are the nurses who are to be patient advocates?  Who in the medical facility is advocating for their patient?

From where many stand, a dose of morphine mixed with who knows what that would result in death inside five minutes does not constitute treatments needed to keep one comfortable.  One wonders if Chris lost his health insurance because of Obama(no)care and could not afford a comparable policy.

And, let’s just be reminded that Texas was the State where the first Ebola patient was treated and subsequently nurses caring for that patient contracted Ebola — a fatal virus.  Isn’t it odd that hospital representatives didn’t stand on that State statute then when caring for those nurses?  If it’s about the appropriateness of life-sustaining treatment, Ebola would have been the disease to call into play this statute.  But, was it that these nurses had insurance that prevented the hospital from standing on that statute, that is unconstitutional in nature?  Inquiring minds would like to know.

According to Joe Nixon, Chris’s attorney, “The statute makes the decision of the hospital committee final, not appealable, and there is no right to go into a court of law to have a judge review the hospital’s decision.”  Nixon states the decision is made behind closed doors without the patient having a representative or due process rights.  He also claims the hospital filed the lawsuit for a guardian to be appointed to avoid a judge ruling on the constitutionality of the statute.

Attorneys for both Dunn and his mother claim the statute and the hospital are in violation of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the united States of America, which states, “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process, ….”  This not only applies to the federal government but State and local as well since the designation is broad.  The Fifth Amendment is also the one invoked when one does not want to incriminate themselves — recognized by all State and local municipalities.

Melissa Conway of Texas Right to Life spoke with Breitbart Texas.  According to Conway, this case represents a “perfect storm” out of the 250 cases the organization has seen.  This is the only case the organization has encountered where the patient was conscious and the “hospital makes a valuable judgment about that person’s life.  In fact, the organization has been fighting this statute for 18 years or nine Texas legislative sessions.

Watch the video and you determine whether Chris is capable, along with his mother, of determining the course of his care.

Breitbart Texas obtained a statement from Houston Methodist Hospital.  It states, “We want to express our deepest sympathies and offer our prayers to the family during this difficult time.  Out of respect for the family and because of patient privacy laws, we cannot discuss the particulars of the case.  We are providing the best possible care to the patient and we continue to care for him.  We are working with the courts to get guidance on who has legal guardianship of the patient.”

Before continuing with the hospital statement, it is hypocritical for the hospital to cite patient privacy laws when they are not providing the patient nor their family with any information regarding the AMA ethics group’s recognition of certain patient rights.  There are more than those listed at the AMA website which most hospitals and medical organizations including physicians provide notification of to their patients.  If this hospital does, an extensive search on the website does not locate such a document.  If this hospital doesn’t provide it’s patients with such a document, except where medical records and information is concerned, this hospital has serious ethics issues suggesting patients should avoid using it at all costs.  In Chris’s case, he is conscious, is an adult of the age of 46, and has a mother who actively participates with Chris in his care.  This does not even remotely pass the sniff test of the need for a “guardian” to be appointed by the court system.

Continuing with the hospital statement, “Within the patient’s family there is disagreement on the appropriate end of life care for this patient.  We feel strongly that every decision we have made is in the best interest of the patient, and the Houston Methodist staff works hard and compassionately every day to help families who are facing difficult end of life issues.  Houston Methodist is a faith-based, values-centered organization that strives to make the best choices for all our patients.  We will continue assisting the family through this painful process.”

The powers that be at Houston Methodist need to severely look at what faith they are based in and what values they center their organization on or around.  With Houston Methodist making health care decisions like this for its patients they consider in the “patient’s best interest,” one would hate to see one that they considered in the patient’s “worse interest.”  No one has questioned the staff and their compassion or hard work;  however, one has to question where the nursing staff is regarding standing up as the patient advocate and where the State nursing organization and the Board of Nursing is regarding advocating for the patient.

According to the Texas Board of Nursing, Nurse Practice Act, Section 301.452 – Grounds for disciplinary action, (b) (10) “unprofessional or dishonorable conduct that, in the board’s opinion, is likely to deceive, defraud, or injure a patient or the public”, following a physician’s order that would terminate a life would constitute violation of this tenet.  Likewise, under the same section, item (b) (13) “failure to adequately care for a patient or to conform to the minimum standards of nursing practice in a manner that, in the board’s opinion, exposes a patient or other person unnecessarily to risk of harm” also would apply.

Section 301.4535 of the Texas Nurse Practice Act cites suspension, revocation or refusal to issue a license under circumstances where proof exists the nurse or applicant has been initially convicted of the listed offenses.   The first listed is murder and number nine is aiding suicide.

While there may be many who would disagree with the assessment about to be given, it goes back to the education in nursing received at a Christian nursing school operated by a Christian organization to provide holistic education in nursing to include faith, ethics and legal issues in regards to providing nursing care.  Any nurse at Houston Methodist Hospital who does not stand up to advocate for Christopher Dunn and his family based on the very basic tenets of nursing practice and the Florence Nightingale oath needs to hang up their cap.  If any of the nurses there are Christians, they need to revisit their Bible and read scripture.  Nurses who do not speak out against this blatant travesty in ethics and a statute that needs to be repealed might better start praying for forgiveness and beg the Lord for mercy for being an accessory to murder.  Silence is consensus.

As for the hospital officials, their very citing of “faith-based” is an insult to those who truly have Christian faith.  If any of those individuals are doctors, and let’s include Chris’s doctors at the hospital, who even advocate such in violation of their Hippocratic Oath, they should be barred from ever practicing medicine, tarred and feathered, then run out of town on a rail.  It is an absolute disgrace!  I guess instead of the mantra of “first, do no harm,” Texas doctors are operating on, “kill when hospital officials say so.”  Hospital officials should be charged with murder.  Let someone kill another on the street and police arrest that individual for murder.  Let a hospital administrator and physician decide to kill someone based on medical condition according to a state statute and it’s legal, falling into the category “it’s all in a day’s work.”  Who knew that murder could be considered legal because of a law and not be considered a crime against humanity as in Nazi Germany?

All nine Texas legislative session elected officials should be voted out or recalled and barred from ever holding any elected position — local, state, or federal.  One would have thought the fierce independent nature of Texas and its citizens’ devotion to the Constitution would have dealt with this unconstitutional statute by now.  After 18 years, I guess Texans are content to let administrators decide if their family member lives or dies under a similar set of circumstances.

Unfortunately, this may be what awaits every citizen in America when Obamacare starts to operate full swing.  Texas got a head start under George W. Bush.  Maybe this is where the “death panel” idea for Obamacare originated.

 

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About Suzanne Hamner

Former professional Registered Nurse turned writer; equal opportunity criticizer; politically incorrect conservative;
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