Monday, March 21, 2005

The Law Bush Signed, Relating To Terminal Care

     A lot of chatter is about concerning a law Bush signed in 1999 relating to the right to die.

     The bill in question has no official title, but was numbered SB1260 of the Texas State Legislature's 1999 session.

     In short, if this mess of legalese can ever be described shortly, it includes the following, some of which is scary.

     § 166.006 The law makes pains to insure that Insurers and Health Care Providers can't force you to sign an "advance directive" concerning your wishes if completely and terminally incapicated. No penalties are mentioned.  One can easily imagine how it would keep costs down to have Insurers push people into signing advance directives.

     § Directives are valid even if not notarized.  Happy Forger's Day!  The charges, however, are "attempted homicide" for doing it.

     Generally outlines the forms that would have to be signed for an advanced directive.

     § 166.039 includes a the both dubious and relevant subsection (f),

(f) The fact that an adult qualified patient has not executed or issued a directive does not create a presumption that the patient does not want a treatment decision to be made to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment

     § 166.045 (halfway down!) is when the discussion really begins.  It basically says that if the doctor does not want to provide treatment, the decision must be reviewed by a board the doctor is not on(§§ a) then the patient has 10 days(§§ e) while the physician (or facility personnel) will make "reasonable efforts" to find a new physician(§§ d)

     What I have not discussed is what was going on before that in Texas, and I'm not really clear.

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