I don't really know how to begin this post. Everything is so different now, than it was before. It's like everyone moved the pieces on the chessboard, while I was out of the room.
First the good news: Andrea's white blood cell count is down, for the fourth day in a row. This signals the level of infection that she has in the repaired valve of her heart.
More good news: Andrea was on two "pressor" medications. These are drugs that increase the blood pressure, so that the organs will receive enough blood. They are very, very hard on the body, though. Andrea has now been taken off of these medications, not because it is a part of withdrawing treatment, but because she no longer needs them.
Okay, I tricked you! There's all good news, no bad news! (I'm sorry; I'm just so happy!) The futility process has been halted. Andrea has a new doctor and the medical futility process has stopped right there, with him! He has lowered (halved) her pain medication, which she doesn't seem to need as much of now(none of us in our family ever thought she needed as much as they were giving her, but the futility morons pour on the pain meds right before unplugging a patient that is cognizant--we have learned that this is part of the "process").
This new doctor told us to make no mistake about it, our sister is in "serious" condition, but that doesn't mean, he said, that she can't get much better!
You know, my sister, who was one of the first patients ever to be operated on using the then brand new technology of the heart-lung machine, made history when she was five years old. And, having been declared "futile," and having had her family and the rest of this country fight that death sentence.....well, she might make history again, showing that this law gives doctors too much power over people's lives, if she continues to recover.
Knowing Andrea as I do; knowing her iron will to live, I'm putting my bets on her.
13. Thanks but the way she had been treated is freighteningly like the
Edited on Mon May-01-06 11:41 PM by caligirl
death camps in Nazi Germany or something like that. Thats insane, is anyone thinking of the killer the Angel of death here. That doctor who tried to do your sister in should have his license revoked in light of the recent facts you stated, he was wrong, lazy and determined to end her life.
50. Hi, I'm "Miss Texas Medical Futility" 2006 and you won't like my platform
I thought of what could happen to this law as soon as I saw this thread title.
So now we all have two reasons to hope that Andrea makes a full recovery from this-
First, there's the obvious care for human life. Andrea seems to be fighting the good fight right now and let's hope she keeps it going.
Secondly, there's nothing I would want more than the bastards who voted for this obscene law to have to stand there face-to-face with a person they would have killed had it not been for the resolve of those around her. I know how those Texans love their beauty pageants so give Andrea a tiara and a sash with "Miss Texas Medical Futility" on it. Let them see that there's a human cost for putting the profits of hospitals and insurance companies ahead of the people that they are supposed to represent.
BTW -$50 bucks says that the doctor who left town for vacation was on some big pharma perk trip.
She's got to live to give them the hell they so richly deserve, and to see that JUSTICE is done!!! And to remind the world several times a day that it was Governor GEORGE W. BUSH who signed this immoral bill into law.
There are some wonderful people in this world. I found that out during this fight for my sister. The Texas Right to Life people are absolutely phenomenal. The attorney worked for us pro bono, and believe me, she was up all night on weekends and everything. The hospital, the bastards, served us with notice of the medical futility committee meeting late GOOD FRIDAY (a holiday) and expected us to be there, in downtown Houston, at SEVEN AM on Tuesday, which is not even a reasonable hour. We contacted Jerri Ward late Friday evening, and she was on the phone to us that night. Saturday night, at 2am, I was still answering emails from her, and she was replying back to me, asking for even more information. What a woman! We met Monday, in a Houston attorney's office, got together on a conference call with Jerri (Jerri is in Austin) and the Texas Right to Life people were right there. I have never seen people swing into action so quickly. They got us another doctor, and one that is a specialist in the field that Andrea needed. These people are great; just absolutely wonderful.
And the right to life and Christian blogs and radio stations. I can't say enough about how they got the word out for us. These people have the courage of their convictions. They are right there, battle stations ready. Whatever differences Democrats have with these people, they are fighting tooth and nail for their cause, and I don't know what we would have done without them. And they didn't care whether we were Democrats or not; they fought for our sister's life. They stood by their principles and didn't let politics get in the way. It was a very stressful and frightening time for our family, but it was good to see the right and the left get together on an issue, for once.
One woman, right here on DU, had her husband contact St. Luke's and offer to take Andrea as a patient. And, when that wasn't possible, she continued digging up information for us. This person wouldn't know us if she passed us on the street, but she stood right by us, all the way. And the CALLS to St. Luke's! Did you know that they had a "media team" formed to deal with all of this? A gentleman from one of the largest newspapers in the United States told us that this was a "public relations nightmare" for St. Luke's Hospital (as well it SHOULD have been!).
I just don't know what we would have done without everyone who worked on this. I don't know how to thank everyone. I am just absolutely floored by the capacity for decency in my fellow human beings.
20. That is just wonderful. I so admire your courage.
May she recover successfully and confront those who would have written her off. This should be a cause for pulling licenses. People who write people off prematurely and for financial reasons should not be practicing medicine.
So... just in case any of us encounters a similar situation in the future, what worked and what didn't? Was it just a matter of demanding a new physician and firing the first one, or did the publicity force the committee to rescind their decision?
You are a real inspiration, and I hope you can take some time to rest now. I'll bet you're exhausted. Having gone through fights on behalf of an ill/disabled family member, I know how draining such battles can be. When you add in the life and death time constraints they thrust upon you... I can't even fathom the stress you have experienced. FWIW, you have my admiration.
It's kind of funny, now, to think of it, but you know, when the doctor called us into an informal meeting, to discuss Andrea being taken off of life support, my sister, Lanore, my brother, Robert, and I were really pissed off. My sister and I told those doctors that if they called for an ethics committee meeting, we would stand in front of their hospital and picket. I don't think they took us seriously. I think they thought we were just pissed off and we wouldn't actually carry through with our threat.
When we DID stand with our signs in front of the hospital, we didn't number very many, but by then it was all over the internet. Some blogs picked it up from DU, and spread the word around. Once that happened, it was like it caught fire, or something. It just went from one blog to another, and to another, and another.
The doctors didn't underestimate our family. They underestimated the power of the internet.
They also underestimated the power of the right to life people. This is an issue that is close to their hearts, believe me. In this case, as well as many others that will probably come up in the future, I think we should all be glad that this IS an issue in which such a passionate and large group of people have chosen to wage war. Once these people get started, they are like a steamroller--they ARE going to run through the opposition.
In this case, you had two networks--the internet, and the right to life groups. Both of them worked in synergy, to create such an uproar that the mainstream media had to pay attention to. Once the media got on to this, St. Luke's began to be aware that they had a major problem on their hands.
The right to life doctor that the Texas Right to Life people put us in touch with--once he signed on to take Andrea as a patient and the transfer was made to his care (he practices at St. Luke's), that is what stopped the the futility process. I think St. Luke's was happy to have this way out.
My hubby sees that every day. *sigh* He gets patients from other doctors and just shakes his head. I don't get it, myself. Why go into medicine if you don't like people or like what you're doing? Why stay in it if you hate it?
59. I hope this isn't the end of it, because other are endangered
This is great news. But even now there is at least one woman, Yenlang Vo, in Austin, whose life is under the same kind of attack. There's no way of knowing how many others this is happening to. People with little education, who bow to authority, who aren't assertive, who aren't articulate and persistent...
This statute was passed with bipartisan support - the final version of the bill in question passed unanimously in the Texas legislature. It will take bipartisan and cross-ideological efforts to reverse it.
To achieve a final victory, the statute needs to be overturned:
Disability Advocates: Texas 'Futile Care' Law Should Be Euthanized
I hadn't heard about another case, but after seeing what Melanie and her family have gone through, I'm not suprised.
You know, in reading the law, I could see why they passed it--if they really believed that hospitals and doctors always and in every case have the patient's best interests at heart. As we've seen in this case, that's not always the truth. I've known docs who've half-assed their patient care, but I've never seen anything like this. Deep down, though, I'm not suprised. I know that not all doctors are as amazing as my hubby ( :loveya: ), and I can see why they start giving up on their patients. When that happens, though, they should just walk out of the hospital and never go back.
77. Doctors come in all kinds - some great, some scary
I am not down on all doctors. I know there are great ones out there. But frankly, there are some real monsters in the system as well. A few years ago, I did a workshop at the American Association on Mental Retardation. A minister at the workshop works with an institution in Texas. According to him, there is a standing order to make sure a staff person stays with one of the people at the institution at all times if they go to the hospital. Why? Because there is one doctor who, if he ends up as the attending physician, will impose "do not resuscitate" orders on the individuals, refuse to order tests, etc. According to this same minister, at least one person has died because staff failed to be vigilant enough. I doubt that this doctor's attitudes toward people with mental retardation are a secret in the hospital. It doesn't mean they like him. They may hate the bastard. But he gets obeyed. Whether he's liked or not, he gets protected and no one exposes him.
I'm not a big fan of "self-policing" in any profession, including medicine:
My hubby has problems with a few docs in town, but because he's staff and has an at-will contract (and it's a small town), he just takes over as many patients as he can and avoids working with them when he can. It sucks, but he isn't in a position to take them on, as many times doctors who are reported then sue the doctor who reported them for defamation and libel.
We need more oversight of the profession, that's for sure. That doctor you mention really needs to be written up at the state board. Any of his former patients can do it.
And there's the rub - at least one of them. Doctors and hospitals are very hostile toward malpractice lawsuits, but will threaten lawsuits against patients who complain of these kinds of things.
I suspect the failure to report is due to a number of factors. For one thing, staff might be afraid of retaliation by the hospital or some of the influential members on the board of trustees. It's also likely they'll get no corroboration from hospital staff, since whistleblowing isn't treated kindly in the medical arena. And if Texas is like other states, there's no guarantee the people sitting on the review board will take any meaningful disciplinary action.
A couple of years ago, there was a case in Colorado involving a failure to administer CPR to a woman with multiple sclerosis who was in a facility for a short-term rehabilitation from surgery. The staff who let her die altered her records to show a DNR. The staff person who reported them to authorities was fired. I am not sure actual charges were ever laid against the two staff people.
80. They'd be backed up here, but it's still hard.
The doctors here only talk about suing other doctors (deeper pockets than the patients and more likely to negatively affect their jobs). At least, that's what I've heard through the grapevine.
I can't believe they altered the records--that's so very awful. Wow. If that happened here, there are too many who would make sure that person never worked again. They take that kind of stuff very seriously at our hospital and in my hubby's practice. I have a good friend who works in quality control, and she's both trusted and believed when she reports something wrong.
60. Hope she does get better. Now -- is it just me or...
...these thread titles make it seems the poster is asking DU for advice on how to kill his sister?
"KILLING MY SISTER - UPDATE
Today I tried throwing her out of the window. Unfortunately, a pillow delivery truck happened to pass by at that same moment. Will try again tomorrow. Am inclined to try the poison method. Any suggestions?"
I would love to see your sister on TV one day, fully recovered, blasting this horrible law! Most of all, I hope for a full recovery.
You post your thanks to the internet and the right to life community. I think you forgot you and your siblings who have never given up and fought for their sis. You are all wonderful. It's nice that the left and right can work together. Maybe we can find a common understanding.
Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators
Important Notices: By participating on this discussion
board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules
page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the
opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent
the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.