Death Panel Bill passes TX Senate, moves to House

Death Panel Bill SB 303, which allows hospitals to impose “do not attempt resuscitation” (DNAR) orders against patients without their consent and even without their knowledge, was rushed through the Texas Senate today despite opposition by the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons (AAPS) and by virtually every other leading pro-patient group.  This bill transfers power from patients and their personal physicians to hospital administration, which can then impose DNAR orders without any legal accountability.

AAPS applauds the six Texas senators who opposed this bill: Larry Taylor, Glenn Hegar, Kelly Hanock, Tommy Williams, Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton.

The Texas Hospital Association, which has opposed every bill supported by AAPS this session, pushed this death panel bill through the Texas Senate Wednesday.  But the THA is less powerful in the Texas House, which is more responsive to patients.

AAPS is joining with many other groups to “score” how House members vote on this dreadful bill, for inclusion in a scorecard to educate patients and voters.

Please contact your Representative and ask him to oppose this power grab by hospitals. HB 1444 is the House companion bill to SB 303.  Patients and their families should not be victimized by DNAR orders without their consent and even their knowledge.

You can read more information about SB 303 in our alert sent last month, copied below for your convenience.

STOP Texas Bill SB 303
Harmful to Patients’ Rights

March 22, 2013

The Texas Medical Association (TMA) is supporting this bad bill:  Texas SB 303.

It should be renamed the “Right for Hospitals to Deny Care Act,” or the “Legalizing Death Panels Act.”  Texas attorney Jerri Lynn Ward, an award-winning expert in this field and AAPS member, calls this bill “HORRIBLE”.  Jerri testified against it on Tuesday.

Beware of how “organized” medical societies have become pawns for the billion-dollar hospital industry, to the detriment of patients and the medical profession.  Another state medical society recently refused to allow a good resolution by an AAPS member because it said a big hospital system would not like it.

Texas SB 303, being pushed by the TMA, would:

1.  Grant hospitals the power to impose denial-of-care directives, such as “do not attempt resuscitation” (DNAR), against patients without their consent and without even giving them written notice.  This bill shifts the burden to the patient or family member to find out if the hospital plans to deny care, and a verbal objection by the patient or family member is not sufficient.  The patient or family member must object in writing, and even then a hospital death panel can reject the objection.

2.  Grant hospitals the power to withhold medical records from patients for five (5) days as time-sensitive life-or-death decisions are being made.

3.  Grant hospitals the right to deny the ability of independent patient advocates to speak on behalf of a patient and defend the patient’s interests, and instead limit patients to hospital-chosen patient advocates.

4.  Grant hospitals the power to create their own death panels, stacked with their own employees, to make “ethics” decisions to deny care to patients.

5.  Grant hospitals the power to transform physicians from being advocates of patient care into becoming adversaries of patients in implementing denial-of-care decisions based on hospital policies.

6.  Limit patient options to a request for transfer of the patient to another hospital, at the patient’s own expense and without any guarantee that the other hospital would not also use this law against the patient.  This ignores that tax-exempt hospitals have a duty to act in the best interests of patients rather than the self-enrichment of multi-million-dollar compensated hospital administrators.

7.  Grant hospitals complete immunity from legal accountability for denying care under most circumstances.

SB 303 pretends to create a right of a second opinion for a patient, but only if the patient is aware of the denial-of-care directive and only if the patient requests a second opinion in time before care is denied with a result of death.  This bill does not establish a right to a second independent opinion; the second opinion under this bill will typically be to another hospital employee controlled by hospital policy.

Please contact your Texas state Senator today and ask your Senator to oppose SB 303.  You can find your Senator’s contact information at:

Also please forward this email to others, and beware of other bad bills being pushed by medical societies.

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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