Bill would essentially institute involuntary euthanasia

Thursday, February 14, 2013
 | 
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

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."

Nat'l Right to Life CommitteeDr. 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 postulates.

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 the patient.

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