A bill before the Texas Senate would take away from patients the
right to be resuscitated at a hospital. An ethics expert describes
the legislation as "scary."
Dr. Burke Balch of the National Right to Life
Committee says the bill allows a doctor to deny
resuscitation, and even the patient or family members would have a
hard time countering that decision.
"The bill says that any doctor could impose a 'Do Not
Resuscitate' order over the objection of a patient and a surrogate,
and it would take immediate effect," he tells OneNewsNow.
"The only choice the patient has or the family ever has is to try
to get a second opinion, and after the second opinion, to try to
appeal to a facility committee."
The patient pays for that second opinion, and during what could
be a lengthy process, if the patient goes into cardiac arrest the
original DNR order remains in effect. Burke says that represents
involuntary euthanasia -- and the end of the slippery slope.
"Here is a case where someone could want to live and the doctor
is allowed to say, You know, I just don't think your quality of
life is adequate. I don't think you should get this resuscitation
and I'm going to enter it into the chart," Balch
The bill includes a requirement that the patient or surrogate be
notified if possible, but there are even exceptions to that. Balch
says it is a tragedy that over the past decade an erosion in the
Hippocratic oath has occurred. That oath states the doctor is to be
the advocate for the patient and defend and preserve the life of