A Texas family is working feverishly to transfer their ill mother from a Houston, Texas, hospital where an ethics committee has ruled the facility will stop life-sustaining treatment, including a ventilator, if the woman is not moved or does not get a new physician by Sunday.
As WorldNetDaily reported, Andrea Clark is scheduled to be on the receiving end of a Texas law that allows a hospital ethics committee to terminate care with 10 days’ notice – this despite the fact the 54-year-old is not in a coma, is not brain dead and wants to go on living, her family says.
St. Luke’s Hospital issued the ultimatum on Good Friday, noted the family’s pro bono attorney, Jerri Lynn Ward.
In January, Clark underwent open-heart surgery and later developed bleeding on the brain. Her family says though she cannot speak, Clark is able to communicate with others by moving her lips and blinking her eyes.
“We’re still working on a transfer,” Ward told WND. “We’ve got some leads, but it’s not over yet.”
Ward explained that a “transfer” can mean getting a new attending physician willing to continue treating a patient; it doesn’t necessarily mean the patient must leave the hospital where the decision was made. The current attending physician brought the issue of Clark’s treatment to the ethics committee for action.
The attorney believes finding a new doctor is better for the patient than enduring the “mad scramble” to find a different facility – plus the hospital normally charges the patient for the move.
Ward said she and the family are exploring both options at this time.
Lanore Dixon, one of four sisters of Clark who live in Texas, has been protesting outside St. Luke’s.
Dixon said there’s a possibility a long-term acute-care facility in Chicago would agree to take Clark – “but we don’t have any family there,” Dixon told WND, “and we think it’s terrible that somebody in her shape should have to be in a place without any family.”
Mentioning the new-doctor option, Dixon said she wasn’t totally comfortable with that since she’s “lost some confidence” in St. Luke’s Hospital.
“It would be ideal if we could find another hospital in Texas that would take Andrea,” Dixon said.
Stressing that she didn’t want to “demonize” anyone, Dixon commented: “The doctors at this hospital are trained to think a certain way, and they have a different perspective on life than I do. They don’t share the perspective that the time that you go is between you and God.”
Columnist and attorney Wesley J. Smith, who wrote extensively on the Terri Schiavo case in Florida, wrote about the issue on his blog:
“Note that the treatment is apparently being removed because it works, not because it doesn’t – which means, in effect, that the hospital ethics committee has declared the patient’s life to be futile.”
Noting that the family wants Clark to live, Smith noted, “It is as if Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers wanted Terri’s care continued but the hospital said no.”
Smith described the Texas law as allowing “private decision-making that will result in death without even the right to a public hearing, to cross examine witnesses or a formal appeal.”
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