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PULLING THE PLUG - JUST IMAGINE THIS:

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Th1onein Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 12:30 AM
Original message
PULLING THE PLUG - JUST IMAGINE THIS:
Edited on Tue Apr-25-06 12:47 AM by Th1onein
Imagine that you are sick and so you make sure that you are covered by really good health insurance. Your everyday life is a regimen of taking your medications, taking care of your young son, and keeping your appointements with your doctor. You're not real sophisticated about health insurance, but you know that your health has never been good, because of your heart, so you spend what little extra you've got on supplemental insurance policies, because you really need to be sure that, if you get sicker, you've got the coverage to take care of yourself. After all, you're alone in the world, just you and your young son.

So...you do get sick. You have to go into the hospital. The news is not good: Your heart has some damaged valves which have to be repaired and replaced and you have almost no chance of surviving the surgery. But, if you don't undergo the surgery, you have no chance at all of surviving. And, you've got insurance. You've got good doctors.

What would you do? You would probably go with the best odds, even though those odds are not good at all. You'd have the surgery. You've got the insurance and you've got the doctors. You, quite literally, have to put your life in their hands. You trust them.

So...you undergo the surgery. And, miraculously, you survive. Your insurance is still in force. You've got good doctors. Everything is rosy.

Then, you get an infection. Because of the infection, you develop complications. You have to go on some medications that cause other problems. You get a bedsore. You get more complications. In the meantime, the insurance costs are rising. The doctors are becoming less optimistic about your chances.

You're fighting for your life. But the insurance company is still paying and getting mean about it. They start pressuring the hospital, which starts pressuring the doctor. The doctor had a patient who he could pull from the arms of death with surgery and he almost did it, but then these complications occurred. Things are not looking that rosy anymore. Pressure is mounting from the insurance company.

The doctor, caving to pressure from the hospital, which caved in to pressure from the insurance company, finally gets with the family to ask them for permission to pull the plug. But the family talked to you and you didn't want to give up the fight.

The doctor convenes a meeting with other doctors and they decide to medicate you into unconsciousness so that you can't say what you want anymore. Once they do that, they have another meeting, with other doctors and make the decision that they can unplug you, with or without your or your family's permission.

These people, the insurance company that you gave your money to, in the expectation that they would pay for your medical bills; the doctor, who you trusted in and believed in, to have your best interests at heart--these are the people who are bringing about your death, just when you are fighting for your life the hardest you've ever had to fight.

Isn't that one heck of a deal, guys? These are the people whose hands you put your life into and they are going to kill you. That's the Texas Futile Care Law. And my sister is going to die because of it.

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niyad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 12:34 AM
Response to Original message
1. I am so very sorry for what your sister and all of you are going through.
and sorry to say I am not familiar with this law, but I would certainly be talking to an attorney, and all the newscasters and reporters I could find.
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amitten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 12:35 AM
Response to Original message
2. Oh my God, I'm so sorry for you.
And that law has got to be banished.

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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 12:36 AM
Response to Original message
3. Where are things at now Th1onein? nt
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Viva_La_Revolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 12:45 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Yes, an update please
You and your family have been in my thoughts all week. :hug:

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Nicole Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 12:46 AM
Response to Original message
5. I'm so sorry
I hope you can get your sister out of there in time.
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Fridays Child Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 12:46 AM
Response to Original message
6. k/r
I hope this has been broadcast, far and wide. I don't know if you necessarily want the people who exploited Terri Schiavo to take up your sister's cause but, if her story has appeared in the media and they've made no effort to contact you, I have to wonder why not. Unlike Terri Schiavo's situation, this is clearly a case where the patient has made plain her desire to stay alive.

In any event, I will continue to keep your sister in my thoughts and hope for the best.
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Th1onein Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 12:56 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. An Update
We have an attorney who is working very hard for my sister. I don't know if she will be successful or not, because others in her shoes have not been. The courts tend to side with the big corporations in these cases. The law is the law, is what they say.

The Right to Life people are very good at this. They know how to fight this, and they are wonderful. But there is only so much that they can do. These people were called late Good Friday, when we got the notice that the hospital was going to convene the Ethics Committee, to decide our sister's fate. They immediately went into action. The attorney, Jerri Ward, was up until two and three in the morning working on this. She has been killing herself on this case. These are good people. They could care less whether we're Democrats or Republicans; whether we love or hate George W. Bush; they fight for life. Period.

But, as I said, there is only so much they can do. The law is the law.

I don't know what we're going to do if they kill my sister. I guess we will go to the hospital and kiss her and hug her and tell her that we love her until she draws her last breath.

At that point, God help them all, because I'm going to take names and I will never, ever, let them forget what they did to my sister.
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MikeNY Donating Member (242 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 02:13 AM
Response to Reply #7
13. Wish you and your family the best
I know that nothing said in here can even begin to make anything better, nothing, but for what its worth I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers. I'll also share my own story although it is in no way as serious as yours, but unfortunate nonetheless. I have seen doctors do some pretty terrible things in my short time on this earth, but what your family is dealing with is terrible.

I have *very* little faith in the health care system in this country. And I have some good reasons. I have been overmedicated and almost killed by a doctor in the past.

When I was a kid, a member of my family went into a hospital for a hip problem and turned up dying there because of their negligence...

As I write this now a member of my own family very close to me has been hospitalized in what I consider to be an absolutely corrupt and negligent hospital, where I myself have had terrible experience after I was overdosed by this doctor. And guess who is one of her main doctors, the same guy that did it to me. But my family does *not* listen to reason, and I am having one hell of a fight convincing my family to change this situation.

Go into a doctor's office these days and the toilet paper has some prescription drug ad on it... we have a big problem...

I just hope for the best for you and your family. You're not alone out there, don't give up!
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Control-Z Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 03:03 AM
Response to Reply #7
16. Can you stop the drugs that are preventing her from
speaking for herself? My father in-law was in bad shape a few years ago and in the hospital. We flew back to see him and I noticed that he appeared drugged rather than sick. We had his medication stopped and he snapped out of the state he was in within a day.

My father in-law's case was different than your sister's. The doctors were not intentionally over-medicating him and were willing to back off when requested to but I have seen how medication can cause false symptoms and wonder if you've tried approaching it from this direction.
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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 07:47 AM
Response to Reply #7
23. Texas law allows forced euthanasia? That should be a CNN headline.
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liberalla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #7
39. Any documentary film makers out there?
Normally, you wouldn't want media attention when someone is dying. But, this is not normal, and this demands exposure.

Michael Moore is doing that film on HMO healthcare. He may be interested in your sister's situation. He certainly would be able to call attention to this.

How about 60 Minutes?

It's just so WRONG, and I'm so sorry your sister and your family is having to live this nightmare.

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HeeBGBz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #39
47. Michael Moore?
Isn't he working on a movie about hospital/medical care now?
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liberalla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 08:00 PM
Response to Reply #47
49. Yes, he is.
I sent him an email. Maybe more people can do the same.

If I understand the original post correctly, the ethics committee met and made the decision that Andrea's care was 'futile' on April 19th.

So, that means she is running out of time fast.

The original thread from April 21st is here:
KILLING MY SISTER - WE ARE PROTESTING - HELP US
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

In that thread, Melanie says:
"We received notice of the ethics committee decision the day before yesterday..."

I think that would be April 19th. Does she have 10 days from that date?
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Tigress DEM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-27-06 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #47
108. Yes he is. Earth to Michael.
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liberalla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 08:45 PM
Response to Reply #7
54. I don't know if this will help but Michael Moore is asking for...
people to tell him their health care HORROR stories.


Send Me Your Health Care Horror Stories... an appeal from Michael Moore

http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/message/index.php?id=...


Email address is: michael@michaelmoore.com
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Dorian Gray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 07:24 AM
Response to Reply #7
75. the1onein
This is truly heartbreaking. I feel so badly for your family that you all have to suffer through this. My thoughts and prayers are with you, your family, your sister, and with the Right to Life people that are working so hard for your sister's situaiton. This is truly a travesty.
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MadMaddie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 12:59 AM
Response to Original message
8. That's the law that * signed into law isn't it.....
Once again big corporations win out over the little guy....Bastards...


Bless your family and I am so sorry this is happening to your family...
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dogday Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 07:53 AM
Response to Reply #8
24. Yes he left his legacy in Texas
with this fuck-up law...
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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 01:07 AM
Response to Original message
9. Simply horrible and I feel so terrible for you and your family.
I think we can all relate to this....we could all find ourselves in such a terrible place. It's one thing when someone is braindead for a decade, quite another when someone is cognizant and wants to fight the medical problem. I hope you get the legal help that will make a difference in this battle.
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blonndee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 01:11 AM
Response to Original message
10. I'm so very, very sorry for what you all are facing.
It makes me sick, and I wish so much there was something I could do about it.

I don't know your history, so forgive me if this has been asked and answered, but have you by chance tried to get the MSM involved in this? They latched on to the Schiavo case. I wonder, especially with the political tide turning, if you might be able to get some national attention to this travesty and get some pressure put on the hospital officials for this, even maybe get a court order? I realize this is way beyond "politics" for you guys, but what I mean is, the time might be conducive for this kind of help for you.

I so hope for the best for you guys.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 01:47 AM
Response to Original message
11. Deleted sub-thread
Sub-thread removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Oversea Visitor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 01:52 AM
Response to Original message
12. n/t
:hug:
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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 02:40 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. I'm sorry that post is in here. It drains you to get broadsided by
stuff like that when all your energy is taken up with other things. If I had taken that advice with my dad when he had strokes in 1985, he wouldn't be alive now. They told us take him home and let him die. He didn't because we didn't allow it.

What a terrible post. Terrible.

Do what you must, honey, and know some of us, having been there and done that are with you no matter the outcome. God bless all of you.

RV
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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #14
28. I agree very much with what you said - most of us do.
Peace for you and you family, Th.
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Mythsaje Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 02:42 AM
Response to Original message
15. You have my sympathy
and my best wishes...for what they're worth.

At least you know you fought for all you were worth, regardless of what happens.
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Iowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 03:28 AM
Response to Original message
17. I am so sorry...
Please keep us updated. This could be any of us - and as us leading edge boomers age, encounter serious health problems, and need more care than the system is accustomed to handling - it may be many of us. Your fight is an important one. You are fighting not only for your sister - but for all of us. Thank you.
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Oversea Visitor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 04:14 AM
Response to Original message
18. A kick and a hug
:kick:
:hug:
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 04:29 AM
Response to Original message
19. I am so sorry to hear this, sounds like your sis and family have been
bush* wacked, being the compassionate conservative that the re :puke:'s are and all. I will be sending some positive energy her way with a promise to try as hard as I can to help to change the direction our once great country is heading in. It seems it's all about money, the almighty dollar. So wrong, so damn wrong.
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nicknameless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 04:36 AM
Response to Original message
20. Still praying that you and your sister get the help you need.
:hug:
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Cant_wait_for_2008 Donating Member (90 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 06:54 AM
Response to Original message
21. Money vs. Human Life: "compassionate conservatism" in action.
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Joe Fields Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 07:27 AM
Response to Original message
22. I am so sorry. Is there ANYTHING at all that can be done to save her?
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bamapachyderm Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 08:29 AM
Response to Original message
25. I hope you don't mind
I'm going to put up the entire text of your post at my site and pass it on to others.

I posted in the last thread--if you didn't see it, I asked if you have heard from the Not Dead Yet people yet?

Don't lose faith. :hug:
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 08:49 AM
Response to Original message
26. And there's all the rhetoric about the government making health care
decisions if the US went to a single-payer model.

I don't see how it could be any worse than a for-profit corporation making your health care decisions....
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 09:06 AM
Response to Original message
27. So sick.
This is just all so very sick. This isn't medicine. I can't believe that every single doctor who worked on your sister agrees with this. Why aren't they speaking up? Why did they even go to med school if they don't have the stones to do the right thing for a patient in such a hard place?

My husband is just as upset about this as I am. He'd go down to help if he could (he's out of vacation time until July, and he's got a very full load of patients he can't pass off to the others in the practice).

I just can't believe that all this good will and prayer power and all will be for naught. This is something that just has to happen. It just does.
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lavenderdiva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #27
36. does your husband perhaps know any other physicians
in the Houston area, that he could talk to about this, who might be willing to add their muscle to the OP's fight? Just a thought, and just asking.... :)

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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #36
44. We don't.
I know one in Dallas, but I don't have her contact info.

I called the AMA today, but they just shunted me to the state groups. I'm going to get to them tomorrow. The AMA, as evil as it usually is, cannot possibly condone this kind of action.

Oh, and I contacted a bioethics prof at my hubby's old med school. Wouldn't it be nice to have a bioethics prof go public, saying just how awful this is and how the head of the hospital's ethics committee is wrong?
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 09:14 AM
Response to Original message
29. why the hell anyone would CHOOSE to reside in Texas is beyond me.
that is one fucked up state.
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #29
61. Well
There is Houston, Dallas, Austin, El Paso, San Antonio, etc. These are major US cities. They have jobs, opportunities, and it's lower cost than either cost. There's art, culture, and ethnic diversity. That's pretty much it in a nutshell.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 09:34 PM
Response to Reply #61
63. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #63
90. If you've spent any amount of time in Texas, you know this isn't true.
I moved from NYC to Austin because it's a more lesbian-friendly city in many ways. Texas was strongly Democrat, pretty much before the Bushes. There are loads of progressives in Texas. Your characterization is just silly. Texas has strong Dem roots and enormous populations of immigrants, Latinos, and queers. If all the progressives exodus for Manhattan or San Francisco, then all we do is abandon the poor of political party.

George W. Bush is from fucking Connecticut. He grew up in Connecticut. You can't abandon an entire state because of one asshole who claims he's from the area.

And if you think that Texas is conservative, try Oklahoma or Nebraska or Wyoming.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #63
99. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 09:20 AM
Response to Original message
30. this is not right
I hope the media grabs hold of this. This hospital should be put in the spotlight.
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RB TexLa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 09:24 AM
Response to Original message
31. glad my advance directive states that no one makes any decisions for me
My family will never be asked to make any decisions, I recently had it amended to state that the doctor is not to even take their input into consideration. No one related to me will ever have to go through being asked anything remotely close to this.


Sorry for what you are going through
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #31
45. If you're in Texas, it won't matter.
The Advanced Directives law is quite clear: if the hospital ethics committee says that you're medically futile, then they are to help transfer you to another facility. Apparently, they can then fake actually helping with that or actively work against it and have no legal repercussions. *sigh* It's sooooo evil and wrong what's going on here--those doctors honestly should have their licenses yanked.
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RB TexLa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 09:54 PM
Response to Reply #45
65. What would that have to do with my not allowing family member to

make decisions for me? Which is what my AD prohibits.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 07:15 AM
Response to Reply #65
72. It's the advanced directive that gets ignored.
That's what I was responding to. The hospital can decide to set that aside and make their own decision, giving you only 10 days to find a new facility.

As for family, that might get tricky. My hubby has had similar situations with patients, and the hospitals here still listen to family, as they're the ones who would sue. It's all about liability.
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Avalux Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 09:46 AM
Response to Original message
32. The doctors do not want to kill your sister.
I am very, very sorry for what you are going through right now and I know it is incredibly difficult to see it any other way because you love your sister....but there are questions that need to be considered.

Can your sister recover from her illness/complications? Will she be able to regain consciousness and 'get better'? Have you looked into having her moved to a facility that will care for her even if she requires mechanical assistance for the rest of her life? Did your sister have an advanced directive that states her wishes in writing if she became incapacitated?

It is perfectly understandable to want to blame someone in circumstances such as these, but sometimes there are overwhelming factors such as infection that are beyond a physician's control and there is a point where the patient can no longer be helped by medical intervention. I truly believe most physicians will go to extraordinary efforts to save a patient, not try to kill them, or let them die when there's a chance they may recover.










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melissinha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 11:07 AM
Response to Reply #32
33. I believe they went through all the options
Edited on Tue Apr-25-06 11:08 AM by melissinha
after reading the earlier post last week.... I think it has to do with the network of hospitals in Texas that are under the same law..... if I am not mistaken....

THis new post really explained how she got sick and how "not-futile" her situation is.... Our health care system is an absolute joke, privatization is the death of us on many fronts and needs to be stopped at all costs.


I don't think those docs on the Ethics Committee are ethical at all, shame on them!!!! :grr:
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Avalux Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #33
35. My main question - can she recover?
It's my understanding she's on a ventilator and dialysis and if removed will not be able to survive. If there's no chance her condition will improve, then what to do? There should be a facility that will accept her (not in that hospital network) if it's her and her family's wishes to keep her alive by mechanical means.
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Th1onein Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #35
37. My sister was deemed terminal five years ago
The definition of terminal is someone who is not expected to survive for more than six months. We have heard "terminal" before and so has Andrea. The fact is that doctors are very bad at determining how much time a patient has left. They don't usually personally know that patient and I am convinced that the will to live has a lot to do with the ability to continue to survive.

We had a doctor look at her who says that it could go either way with her right now. She could get sicker and die, or she could get well. This doesn't seem to matter, though, according to the law. Once that ethics committee hands down it's decision, you have ten days to get her out or they will stop treatment and let her die.

As I've said before: Houston hospitals have a policy that if one hospital deems care futile, then no other hospital will take that patient. There is also the matter of what they call "discharge orders." Discharge orders are written by doctors in the event that the patient gets well and gets out of the hospital. There are no "discharge orders" written for Andrea, because her current physician doesn't think that she can be discharged. If there are no discharge orders, no other hospital will take her. This is the way that it is meant to be, if a patient is deemed futile. Once a patient is deemed futile by one physician, it is almost impossible to get another to override that decision. It is a death sentence, without the benefit of a public hearing.

Andrea has been told she is "terminal" before. Five years ago. After that "terminal" diagnosis, she got well, got up and went about her life, outside of the hospital. She cleaned her house, cared for her son, and made herself happy and content doing arts and crafts. For a "terminal" patient, she sure was active.

The fact is that these doctors are playing God and they have no right to do that.
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OhioChick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. All of you are in my prayers.......
:hug:
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Avalux Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #37
42. If you have a physician who says she might get well -
can't an attorney file suit against the hospital using that physician's statement to stop action? The Texas Futile Care Act states that the hospital must make an attempt to find another facility and also present the findings of the ethics committee in writing to the family. If they haven't followed these provisions, they can be held liable by law.


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wcaryk Donating Member (6 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #37
60. CAN SOMEONE FORWARD THIS TO HER SISTER?
I've posted this twice elsewhere, so forgive me if
you've seen this already -- but I an unable to
email the sister (not enough posts yet to be
allowed by this system to email another user --
perhaps someone who can email her will forward
this for me? Please?)

According to Wikipedia, it is possible in some circumstances
to have a state court grant an extension. The exact
quote is:

> The party who disagrees may appeal to the relevant state court and
> ask the judge to grant an extension of time before treatment is
> withdrawn. This extension is to be granted only if the judge
> determines that there is a reasonable likelihood of finding a
> willing provider of the disputed treatment if more time is granted.

I don't know if this offers any hope, but you should at least
be aware of it.

-- cary
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Catrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 01:59 AM
Response to Reply #60
69. That sounds like a very good idea. At the very least, it would delay
everything until it was heard in court ~ and then, perhaps, the family would get an extension.

I'll pm your post to her sister for you ~
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wcaryk Donating Member (6 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #69
84. POSSIBLE LEGAL INTERVENTION (YO, CATRINA?)
Hi Catrina.

I've just joined `democraticunderground', and when I try to email
another member directly, I'm informed that I "don't have enough posts
to send private messages". Thus I'm reduced to pleading to
have someone else do it for me.

I went and read the relevant sections of the Futile Care Law,
and although I am in no way a lawyer, it seems to me that
the Wikipedia article is accurate on this point.

In any case, the Clark family most certainly needs to get
a lawyer involved, if they have not done so already.

Catrina, could you post once again and confirm that you
indeed have passed this information on to the sister?
I'm most frustrated, and uneasy, being unable to do so
directly myself -- so if you could let me hear that this
has been passed on, I'd feel much better.

And thank you.
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Catrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #84
85. Hi wcaryk, Yes, I did PM your post to her sister. I hope she received it.
I'm sure she's very busy and pre-occupied and may not have checked her DU pms yet.

I think after you have about 50 posts you will be able to PM other posters. Hope I'm right about that, if not someone else can correct me.

Do you have a link to the Wikipedia entry you found? If not, I'll try to find it. But to me, if they haven't done so already, this does seem like something well worth looking into.

I've seen it happen before, now that you mention. It definitely happened in the Terri Schiavo case which is how she was kept alive for so long. The legal wranglings did last for years.

I wish this family could find another hospital for their sister ~

Thank you for caring so much ~ if her sister posts again, maybe she'll let us know that she read your post, but I did PM it to her, so you can 'feel better' ~ :-)

Btw, Welcome to DU ~ :hi:
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wcaryk Donating Member (6 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #85
88. Some legalese -- and a rather disturbing article
The Wikipedia article I was quoting from is at:

> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Futile_Care_Law

and from (I believe)the bill itself, found at:

> http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/HS/content...

I think this is the relevant section

> (g) At the request of the patient or the person responsible
> for the health care decisions of the patient, the appropriate
> district or county court shall extend the time period provided
> under Subsection (e) only if the court finds, by a preponderance of
> the evidence, that there is a reasonable expectation that a
> physician or health care facility that will honor the patient's
> directive will be found if the time extension is granted.


This quite interesting -- and disturbing -- article from
a Houston indy media outlet:

> http://houston.indymedia.org/news/2006/04/48873.php

contains the phrase "Andrea's attorney", so I take it
that they do have a lawyer on the case. They most
certainly should.

And thank you again.


-- cary

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Catrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #88
91. I have just received a PM from Andrea's sister. She did get your
suggestion (I copied and pasted your post and sent it to her). She does have a lawyer, as you said. She said her lawyer has also made this suggestion, so she says it's good to hear some confirmation from other people. She will probably post here again, but I can't PM you yet, so I just wanted you to know that she said she is very grateful to you for your post, and to all the people at DU for their support.

I will send her a link to your above post, since they seem to think now that this might be a possible way to go. Maybe it will be helpful to her also.

Have to check how many posts you need before being able to PM ~ :-)


Thanks again. That was a great suggestion, and I really, really hope it works, if they do decide to go to court.
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wcaryk Donating Member (6 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #91
96. Thanks, Catrina. Actually, there's a funny story...
I'm most gratified to hear that. There is one more
facet to to all this, but I probably should
tell you offline. And since:

>
> ...I can't PM you yet,


could you email me offline, at "cary@as.arizona.edu "?

-- cary

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bamapachyderm Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #33
43. Nat Hentoff
Nat Hentoff writes a lot about bioethics and cases like these.

Here's one article, for those interested:
http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0349,hentoff,49123,6.h...

Here's more from Hentoff.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 05:36 PM
Response to Reply #32
46. This is why I'm involved
My hubby's an internist, and he and I are just sick that anything like this is happening anywhere. I hate to say it, though--it really seems like they are trying to kill Ms. Clarke. There are issues they haven't treated properly, there are complications they're not dealing with, and they're keeping her over-sedated for her pain at a level that is not medically indicated. I would be the last person to attack a good doctor, but these people are not good doctors in this case.
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Tigress DEM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-27-06 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #32
107. What the family is ASKING for is time to move her, but...
this Texas law makes it very difficult for another facility to take her in and I think actually prohibits it in some way. So they have to take this medically fragile person and transport her somewhere out of the jurisdiction and that takes time. She has 5 days now.
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Oversea Visitor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 11:14 AM
Response to Original message
34. n/t
:hug:
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bamapachyderm Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 03:28 PM
Response to Original message
40. Houston Chronicle
It's in their blogs now; my friend just posted on it there.

http://blogs.chron.com/texassparkle/2006/04/what_value_...
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #40
58. Lone Star Times
http://lonestartimes.com/2006/04/25/the-troubling-case-... /
This is all very strange and extremely troubling. It is happening right here in Houston, Texas.

Andrea Clarke is a patient at St. Lukes Episcopal Hospital in the Medical Center. She went in there for surgery on a heart condition. After surgery, she developed complications (an infection) and was put on a respirator to help her breath. In order to treat her pain, they have given her enough pain meds to make her unconsciousness.

To make a long story short, the powers that be at St. Lukes has declared her condition to be "medically futile". Andreas family has 10 days to move her or they "pull the plug". Now comes the strange part; the case came to light via a post on Friday, April 21, on the Democratic Underground ("DU"). Thats right, the "fever swamps" of left wing politics, the DU. Why? Because the poster is the sister to the patient, Andrea Clarke....

(clipping)

I agree. What we can do to help: Call St. Lukes: 832-355-1000

Let them know politely and calmly that you believe it is wrong to disconnect Andrea Clarke from the respirator.

I would also like to add that we need to pray for Andrea. Melanie said Andrea is very scared right now (who wouldnt be!) We also need to offer prayers for this entire family; all of the siblings are working together the best they can to help their sister.

One of the comments to Melanies post on the DU asked "where the hell are the "pro-life" people".

Right here! Front and Center! Ready to aid our "sister"

Lets not let Andrea down!
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 07:16 AM
Response to Reply #58
73. Ooh, that's a good one.
I like that, and that one might help get more press.
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liberalla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 04:00 PM
Response to Original message
41. I just gave the info to a screener for Randi Rhodes
She was doing the interview with the California Assemblyman Paul Koretz who is leading the Impeachment charge out there, so I gave him the info and the DU thread info.

Original GD thread with more background (with contact #'s) info is here:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

How many days does she have left? 6? 5?

Can you hire an independent Doctor to give a second opinion?
If a Dr. disagreed with the hospital would that help?
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Courtney_L Donating Member (2 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 07:21 PM
Response to Original message
48. A hospital isn't a nursing home
Death is hard, and the fact that it happens to us all doesn't make it any easier. That said, our healthcare system is fragile enough without letting families whose grief has caused them to lose all touch with reality (or who are thinking of profiting from future litigation, which also happens) further undermine it. Anybody who's ever known doctors or nurses surely understands that the vast majority of them care deeply about helping patients heal; it strains credibility to think of a team of them gathering around as part of an ethics team out to kill a patient who still has a chance to live. But they also know that people do die, and they know when people don't have a chance. I have no doubt that is what has happened in your sister's case, and it's really time you deal with it, for your own sake, for your sister's sake, and for society's sake. People who have suffered brain death can now be kept alive indefinitely with machines and feeding tubes. How long do you think it would take to fill up a hospital's few hundred beds with people on artificial life support? And when the hospital beds are all full, then where does my mom go when she has a heart attack? Where does my brother go when he has appendicitis? Where does the car accident victim go? Because when the beds are full, they're full. Furthermore, although it's nice to have insurance, one also has to think about the fact that that money doesn't come from an endless source. If more and more money goes to paying thousands of dollars a day to keeping effectively deceased people alive, then insurance rates can only go up. That means even more sick people are deprived of healthcare. Sick children, sick moms and dads, sick grandparents will suffer even more--all because we as a society have decided to dedicate our healthcare resources to keeping the dead alive. Think about it.
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liberalla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 08:21 PM
Response to Reply #48
51. Your reply is good for people like Terri Schiavo but
Andrea Clarke has not "suffered brain death" and is not "effectively deceased", to use your words.

There are more details of Andrea's condition in the original thread here:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Like you I agree the doctors and nurses are not conspiring to kill Andrea. However, the huge corporations running the insurance companies and hospitals have different priorities. Money. PROFIT. It's all business and bottom line for them. They are the driving force here.

And, seeing this was your first post, let me also say,

Welcome to DU! :hi:
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kikiek Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 09:03 PM
Response to Reply #51
57. It sounds like she doesn't require acute care any longer. A long term care
Edited on Tue Apr-25-06 09:04 PM by kikiek
setting is what she would require. They can provide vent support and she can still receive dialysis. Honestly if hospitals were used that way no one would have insurance. We couldn't afford it. The family needs help finding a facility that is willing to take her. Maybe that is where the attention should be focused. Unfortunately the state you live in probably does play a big part now. I don't want to judge Texas, but I would guess that this would be an easier process in some other states.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 07:20 AM
Response to Reply #57
74. They found one, and the social worker lied to them.
They then backed out. The social worker told them that she needs constant dialysis, when she doesn't, so the facility backed out, saying they couldn't offer that level of care.

This is what they're dealing with: a social worker who is working against them, a physician who just won't do the paperwork needed to release her to another facility, and time is ticking down.
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farish Donating Member (5 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #74
83. I'm sorry, but this just cannot be true. A social worker who ...
lied in her/his professional capacity would have their license yanked so fast it would make your head spin. If she is even "working against them", her clients, she would face sanctions and possible license revocation.

In stressful situations, people are likely to blame the messenger for unpleasant news, and I would guess some of that is happening here. It is unlikely in the extreme that two professionals (the social worker and the physician) are so egregiously violating any number of professional ethics, if not state and federal laws, in the manner you describe.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #83
93. I checked into it.
It does seem to be the case, and apparently, it's not the first time it's happened at this hospital. Usually, I'm the last one to believe anything like this, considering that I've been with my husband from his pre-med years on, but it really does seem to be the case.
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farish Donating Member (5 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-27-06 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #93
102. Do you mind saying how you checked into it? And do you
know anything specific the social worker has done that could be considered "working against" her clients? Specific actions and/or words would be helpful. I used to be a social worker, and I would like to report anyone who is acting in an unethical or unprofessional fashion.

Thanks for your help.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-28-06 08:14 AM
Response to Reply #102
112. I talked with the Director of Nursing.
She confirmed that things hadn't gone well or as they should have.

I'm sure Melanie would give you the name of the social worker.
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PublicWrath Donating Member (597 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-27-06 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #83
104. A quick google on social workers charged with crimes
will illustrate that unethical, negligent, even criminal social workers can sometimes leave a long history of tragedy and destruction before rules and regulations ever catch up with them. Nor do rules and regulations preempt incompetence, bad judgment and simple stupidity.

While most social workers are caring, well-trained and professional, the few who are incompetent or unethical damage lives daily. They have direct power over the most vulnerable people in our society, -children, seniors, low-income families, the ill, the desperate. Often, the victims of a bad social worker are in crisis situations which undermine their ability to fight back through the system.

Wages for social workers are typically low and standards can suffer, particularly when the caseload far outstrips the available subsidies. Oversight is frequently poor and complaints filed are sometimes overlooked or shelved for years as a result of funding issues which limit the hiring and training of new personnel. It is not uncommon for sheaves of complaints to accumulate before a social worker is discharged, let alone de-licensed, and those who work for state agencies have a number of protections.
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bamapachyderm Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 08:35 PM
Response to Reply #48
53. sure
Cut off her life support, because she might be hogging a bed that someone else who is in a less serious situation needs.
Better yet, we really should quit trying to save people's lives. It just costs WAY too much, and dammit, my taxes are too high. And those damn disabled people, talk about a money pit!

</sarcasm>

She's not "brain dead." There's no "deal with it."
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kikiek Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 08:58 PM
Response to Reply #48
55. You raise some very good points. If the medical evidence backs up the
family's beliefs maybe releasing all of the records would help. There are facilities who take vent dependent patients for long term stays. Hospitals have to be able to prove that medical reasons exist for someone to stay in an acute care facility. Otherwise the hospital doesn't get reimbursed. Obviously they cannot operate without reimbursement. I don't believe most doctors are making these decisions without a lot of soul searching. The only way to find out how the decision was made is by releasing the medical records. That is a difficult thing to do, but maybe necessary for the needed support.
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Th1onein Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 09:46 PM
Response to Reply #48
64. Excuse me, but I think you have your facts wrong.
My sister is NOT brain dead. My sister was declared terminal five years ago and got well and left the hospital and led a normal life. Doctors are not Gods; doctors don't know everything. And, doctors don't always know "when people don't have a chance." And, besides that, why should ONE doctor be able to say that Andrea doesn't have a chance and that should be it?

Andrea has insurance that is still paying for the costs of her treatment. The problem is that the insurance company is putting pressure on the doctor and the hospital, because Andrea is costing them too much money. St. Luke's doesn't have a problem with having enough resources to take care of all of the patients coming there. There has been absolutely no instance when the ICU that Andrea is in, at least, has been full, since this whole thing has been going on. Insurance companies simply want to maximize their profits. You know it and I know it. And I'm not buying the argument of "scarce resources." It simply doesn't apply in this case.

And, my sister is not "effectively deceased." My sister is alive and lively. If she weren't so drugged up right now, she'd be trying to talk one of us into bringing her a Whopper and fries, believe me. Show me a deceased person who can do that.

Once people begin to have the power to make judgements about whether someone has a "quality" life or not, they are venturing into some very troubled moral waters.
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conflictgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 12:19 AM
Response to Reply #64
67. This is not a Terri Schiavo case
Some people seem to think this is just like Terri Schiavo, but if I've read everything correctly, your sister is only incapacitated because of the meds they have her on. If she goes off the meds, she will be fine again, right? How long does she have to be on them?

I think there's a difference between someone who's been effectively brain-dead for years and years vs. someone who's temporarily incapacitated due to medication. If she has to be on these meds for the rest of her life, I think it might be a different story. But if it's temporary, it has some very frightening implications for the rest of us.

Aside from the needless trauma this puts a family through, do we really want a society where the opinions of single doctors and insurance companies determine whether we live or die? I don't personally support leaving people on life support indefinitely, but I also don't want to entrust doctors, hospitals and (most importantly) insurance companies with the big decisions about who lives and dies. The healthcare system in this country is FUCKED UP and way too many people die unnecessarily because of it. And I really, really don't want to set a precedent that if someone's on a medication that renders them mentally incapacitated (especially temporarily), then it would be okay for the hospitals to pull the plug. Are we going to have start circulating lists on the internet like "don't take these medications - your doctor could use them to justify your death"?? Look at the bigger picture, people! Do you really trust your insurance company that much?
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PublicWrath Donating Member (597 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-27-06 02:06 AM
Response to Reply #64
100. People with infinite trust in the system have never been in its grasp.
Your story is horrifying, and although the vast majority of the responders on threads related to your crisis have been helpful and sensitive, I'm appalled that a handful of amateur counselors have seen fit to render condescending advice about remaking your emotional perspective. That anyone could mouth tv platitudes about 'letting go' in the context of this grotesque policy and its tragic and inhumane consequences is nearly as chilling as the policy itself.

However, I've seen it often, -cool, self-protective denial that anybody in special realms of authority ever act from impure motives or distorted priorities, and assertively naive confidence that regulations serve as sufficient barricade against all manner of individual and group misconduct. Be assured, it does not escape most of us here that victims of the system are often roasted a second time on the pyre dedicated to preserving a plump and cozy complacency.

I've been reading some articles on "futile care" laws and I believe this trend has monstrous implications for society. I am heartsick for you and your sister, and I hope you will be allowed to get her out of there and moved to a safe place.

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Iowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 02:58 AM
Response to Reply #48
70. You are wrong on many counts...
"But they also know... when people don't have a chance."

No, that's a gross oversimplification that displays a lack of experience and a pollyannaish attitude about the practice of medicine. Sometimes they get it right - sometimes they don't.

"I have no doubt that is what has happened in your sister's case"

Really? You have no doubt! What an amazing statement coming from someone who hasn't examined the patient, hasn't even read the chart, and probably isn't even in a medical professional.

"and it's really time you deal with it, for your own sake, for your sister's sake..."

You presume to lecture someone who actually has the facts. Wow! Do you see how this might come across as naive, condescending and patronizing?

"...and for society's sake."

No, society will be better off if Andrea is given the benefit of any doubt that may exist. The facts as presented here by the family make it clear that there is a great deal of doubt in this case.

"Furthermore, although it's nice to have insurance, one also has to think about the fact that that money doesn't come from an endless source."

Ugh! Where to begin. No, it isn't "nice" to have insurance. Insurance is a legally binding contract that we all pay dearly for. Your post could have been written by an insurance company hack. Furthermore, our society has the ability to put people on the moon, we spend hundreds of billions on wars about nothing, and we have hospitals built like palaces that are sitting half empty. So don't tell us that we cannot afford to treat our ill without forcing families, patients, and doctors to make rushed, impossible, excruciating judgment calls that pit doctors against patients and their families. If treating ALL people with dignity adds to the cost - so be it. It's worth it. There are very few things that are more important than matters of life and death and it's more than a matter of money. And if we can't figure out how to do it without going bankrupt, then our society deserves to be bankrupt. This isn't about not having the resources - it's about corporatism. Don't just swallow the corporate line without thinking it through. Don't automatically buy into the way they frame the issue.

"...keeping effectively deceased people alive..."

This remark displays a lack of respect for the lives of the weakest among us. People with severe illnesses and disabilities should be alarmed by such comments. Minimizing the value of a human life via degrading characterizations takes us down a very slippery slope.

----------------

I have always believed that progressives were the genuine pro-life constituency despite all the rhetoric from the right. I would expect the right to view health care as a zero-sum game - let one patient die so "my mom" has a place to go when she has a heart attack. Or let this patient die so that "my brother" has a place to go when he has appendicitis. But I don't expect to hear such simplistic, restricted, stingy, rigid thinking coming from progressives. Compassion... Generosity... Humanity... The strongest looking out for the weakest... A "can-do" mentality... Those are things that progressives are about - and that's the spirit expressed by most posting here. And it has been very heartening to see that.

Think about it.
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DiverDave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #70
81. Nail, meet hammer, Iowa, you NAILED IT!
Jeez, who is this guy?
Sure sounds like a bean counter for an insurance company.

Oh, and heartless too.
I bet if it was his sister\mother\father\brother, he would be singing a different tune.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 07:34 AM
Response to Reply #48
76. I'm an internist's wife, and I disagree with you on many points.
You're right that doctors deal with death on a daily basis and often have a good idea of when it's going to happen. They've been wrong many times, though, as medicine is more art than science (no matter what doctors say).

For example, my hubby took over a patient not too long ago from one of the partners who thought it was something rather simple and treatable. After a month of trying to figure out what was wrong, it turned out the patient was dying from a nasty version of lung cancer (with no smoking or any possible causes in his history). So, this healthy-looking young guy died just a month after my hubby started working on his case, suprising the partner completely. My hubby still hurts when he thinks about it, wondering if he could've found out sooner somehow to give that man and his wife more time together. He even did a home visit to make sure his pain meds were okay and to give his cell number to the wife (he never gives that out), only to have the patient die a week later.

I tell that story to say that patients everyone agreed on as dying often suprise the medical team and patients everyone thought had something simple and treatable turn out to be far sicker than originally thought and go on to die soon after diagnosis.

Yes, there are people who are effectively dead, no frontal lobe activity, who are kept alive in nursing homes on all sorts of machines. Honestly, though, there are fewer than you think. Most families let their loved ones go when it's time. Most families, when asked in the course of a code, ask the doctor to stop.

This is not the case with Ms. Clarke. I have talked with her sister, and I don't want to share her medical history, such as I know it to be, but she is not in the situation you think she is. Many people are temporarily on a ventilator or dialysis. She is only passed out from being given more pain meds than medically indicated (a major question exists about that). There are doctors who have looked at her chart or know about her case who disagree with the ethics committee and attending physician.

Would you want your loved one's life cut short because of insurance company pressure? Would you want your doctor giving up on you when you still are alive and kicking, mostly because he's throwing up his hands in defeat? Wouldn't you want your doctor still trying, still looking for the right answer? I know that's what my hubby does for all of his patients, and should the day arise that he give up, that's the day I'll escort him out of the hospital and get him to a beach for some relaxation and maybe a new career.
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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 07:58 AM
Response to Reply #76
79. What are the odds that they are trying to bury their mistake?
The infection happened after surgery, and if I understand correctly, bedsores are a sign of poor care in general...as a doc's wife what is your opinion?
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Dora Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #79
87. I had the same thought as you.
Post-surgical treatment-resistant infection and bedsores! In a Houston hospital! Houston! Not a tiny little town medical center, but a HOUSTON HOSPITAL?

IMO, that spells out inadequate care and perhaps even malpractice. I strongly suspect that most parties involved are in peak cover-your-ass mode.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #87
95. They do seem to be circling the wagons.
I talked with the Director of Nursing last week, and now she won't answer or return my calls.

Everything she's gotten is from the hospital, but that's not unusual. Heart valve surgery is risky, and getting an infection from it happens. Everything else either was from poor management, understaffed nurses (the bedsore--they usually only happen in understaffed situations), or because it's one of the things that can go wrong. That doesn't mean it's time to stop fighting, though. She's still young and has beaten worse odds before.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #79
94. I'm not sure it's that.
I think it's more along the lines of thinking they've done everything possible only to have this patient get every single complication. I think they've made it in their mind that she is going to die no matter what they do or try, so it's time to throw in the towel. God help him if my hubby ever did that--he's saved patients other docs have given up on, so he knows it's possible.

I agree on the bedsore, though--that's inexcusable. Even Terri Schiavo never had a bedsore.
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Kansas Wyatt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 08:13 PM
Response to Original message
50. Health Care became a business years ago
It's all about the bottom line and profits now, and sick people are just too expensive. Everything has been transformed into a racket to be exploited in this country, and it has everything to do with Corporate America.

Democrats wake up and get away from Corporate America, 'We The People' need and deserve your representation, not Corporate America.
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liberalla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 08:27 PM
Response to Reply #50
52. Exactly!
"We the People" can not become "once there was a people"...
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BrightKnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 01:53 AM
Response to Reply #50
68. I imagine insurance companies wrote and paid for this law.
Edited on Wed Apr-26-06 02:13 AM by BrightKnight
There should be due processes for these kinds of decisions. A hospital ethnics committee can not be entirely impartial. The hospital will act to protect its own economic interests. An impartial third party should hear the case. There should be an appeals process. The interests of the patient and family should be adequately represented.

---------

Your sister is very lucky to have someone like you fighting for her. I hope that you find the medical care that she needs. If I were terminally ill I would want my sister with me.


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sndrake Donating Member (7 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-01-06 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #68
117. It would be nice to think blame could be placed so simply
BrightKnight et al,

It would be nice to have a clear villain to point to for this, but the history of this statute - and others like it in other states - have a muddier history.

Over ten years ago, foundations such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation started pouring literally hundreds of millions of dollars into "end of life" care (think about just how deceptive that term is in this case). "End of life care" coalitions were formed and funded in every state. They consisted (and still do) primarily of physicians, nurses, social workers, lawyers with ties to the healthcare profession, and service providers. No participation from "lay" people. No participation from disability advocacy groups. No participation from prolife groups.

So you had a fairly narrow range of professionals defining what was "good" public policy. And that's dangerous.

To be honest, when I think about health care policy, I'm much more concerned about protecting *my* rights than protecting the rights of doctors, nurses and hospitals. Is it any surprise that a group of professionals have concerns weighted more in terms of protecting their own interests? Notice, for instance, how the AMA is much more concerned about limiting the ability to sue doctors for malpractice than it is with finding ways to make it easier to remove the licenses of bad doctors.

"Futility" is just one policy emerging out of the medical community. In Colorado, Democrats just handed doctors an immunity statute regarding manslaughter. There's lots of bipartisan guilt to go around here.

Both parties - in Texas and other states - have dropped the ball in regard to challenging the proposals coming out of these very narrow special interest groups. And the proposals have mostly been enacted at state levels without public debate.

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area51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 09:03 PM
Response to Original message
56. Th1onein
:hug:


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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 09:08 PM
Response to Original message
59. I was going to move my parents to TX, but now I'm not.
This is terrifying. I was planning on moving back to Austin soon and I was going to suggest that my parents move near me. This made me change my mind. This is a nightmare.

I am so sorry for your family. My best regards.
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Cobalt Violet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 09:21 PM
Response to Original message
62. I'm sorry this is happening.
It's one of the most shameful things I have ever heard about what * has done to TX.
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undergroundpanther Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-25-06 11:56 PM
Response to Original message
66. I am so sad for you and your sister..
I wish that these rich suited greedy insurance company thugs would suffer as others will by their greedy "bean counting" bullshit .
I wish every Insurance company CEO and soulless bean counter thug would get stricken with cancer and DIE with no medical help in sight, and have to be put down as burdens on the evil utilitarian system they created and profited from.

I tried to warn people on DU about this "futile care" stuff the re thugs were trying to pull on people Via Terry Shiavo...But nobody heard me, All the Du'ers could do is whine Terry is brain dead let her die..Yes She was brain dead..and she did not HAVE be put down. Because her parents wanted her alive and they cared about her. But no Dem's were screaming let her DIE...Why couldn't her husband get out of the way and her parents take care of her,they wanted to?.She did not have to die.But someone felt guilty someone wanted her out of the way.And the "right to die" became a rally call.. Because of the twisting of consent framed as "right to die" that is popular among the ignorant of the history of eugenics,Your sister pays with her life now..and so do millions of other sick people the insurance companies don't wanna pay for..Utiliarian efficiency is not a reason to murder anybody through their own doctors.

"One of the great delusions of our time is that a service system can produce care. All kinds of systems steal this human word. In doing that, they put the mask of love on the face of control."
-- John McKnight


"We will not be held hostage to their administrative efficiency. We will not keep to our place. We will never again be put away.
We are freedom fighters now.
And this is war."
-- Mouth Magazine

But your sister does not have to die,she is being murdered because someone rich wants to save a few bucks in the name of efficiency. But she will die because so many stupid people don't want to think beyond their normal assumptions. They go reacting against anything the fundamentalist loons rally for not realizing they are being played.

And through the hysteria around Terry Shiavo The Dem's got played as reactionary fools right putting the most vulnerable ,weak and sick right into the hands of the right wing murdering suited thugs that could care less about other people's lives if they cost too much to maintain.

______________________________________________________

Wartime, Adolf Hitler suggested, "was the best time for the elimination of the incurably ill." Many Germans did not want to be reminded of individuals who did not measure up to their concept of a "master race." The physically and mentally handicapped were viewed as "useless" to society, a threat to Aryan genetic purity, and, ultimately, unworthy of life. At the beginning of World War II, individuals who were mentally retarded, physically handicapped, or mentally ill were targeted for murder in what the Nazis called the "T-4," or "euthanasia," program.
http://www.hospicepatients.org/mae-magouirk-04-08-05-pr...

The various "right to die" organizations apparently are setting us up to accept the notion that it is our responsibility to end our agony at some point particularly if we become a burden to the system, depressed, old or inconvenient. This particular right will be given to us by a doctor, nurse, medical institution, judge or relative who makes it their mission in life to dispose of us for a host of "humane" reasons.

The list of "quality of life" standards is growing. It is a list consisting of elements on the slippery slope from being humane to being rid of the unwanted. It has evolved from simply withholding heroic efforts to save a brain-dead or terminal human to a laundry list of whether or not we are costly to maintain, unproductive, dependent, burdensome, poor or depressed. To find out more: www.hospicepatients.org/euth-center.html
http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/10/16/223...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 03:31 AM
Response to Original message
71. Hugs to you, Th1onein
I just read and posted in LBN this dreadful act of hate in Texas.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

I found it in a NY paper -

http://www.northcountrygazette.org/articles/042406Houst...

and I had not seen your posts.

I do so hope that this criminal act by a *Co criminal law does not claim your sister's life.

:cry:

:hug: to you and your family.
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bamapachyderm Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 07:54 AM
Response to Original message
77. Th1onein - How are things looking today? n/t
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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 07:56 AM
Response to Original message
78. Any protests scheduled today or tomorrow?
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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 08:35 AM
Response to Original message
80. Kick!
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DiverDave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 09:13 AM
Response to Original message
82. Give us the names of these ghouls
and we need to make sure that they remember this for the rest of their useless little lives.

Actions, consequences. thats what I was taught.

What ins. company is this?
I will make sure that we never give them a nickle...
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Catrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #82
86. Yes, and have any of the 'right to life' crowd stepped forward to do
anything about this? How about Santorum, Tom Delay, Bush, (the signer of the law)

Did anyone email the story to AAR? Randi Rhodes or Ed Schultz might be willing to talk about it on the iar.

People should know about this law in case they're thinking of moving to Texas with anyone who may be vulnerable to it!

It is ghoulish, and hard to believe it is possible in this country that even the family has no say in how their loved ones should be treated.

My heart goes out to the family ~ will spread the story around and if I were in Texas I would go to the demonstrations. We could call the hospital or others if that would help. Just let us know. :cry:
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Th1onein Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #82
89. My sister is covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield
The really awful thing, too, about this whole situation, is that her doctor, Dr. Ron Giveon, went on VACATION right after committing my sister to death! How could he do that? Where are the ethics in that? It's bad enough to hold a meeting (without asking for a second opinion, even!) to decide whether a patient lives or dies, and choosing death for that patient. But to go on vacation, after you've started the ball rolling? What kind of person does that?

You know, too, when we had the first meeting with these "ethics" people, when they tried (but failed) to talk us into "letting Andrea go," there was this Episcopal minister there, the hospital chaplain, named Fronig, who told us that it would be the humane, compassionate thing to do, to end Andrea's life, who when questioned admitted that HE HAD NEVER EVEN SEEN ANDREA! The man had never even stepped into Andrea's room!

It is obvious from looking at the members of our family that we are just "working class" people. No doctors or lawyers here; no upper crust; just working blue collar people. I think that they thought that they would take advantage of some ignorant, powerless "downhome" Texans.

And we are ignorant, and we don't have much money, that's true. But the internet and the people who use it changed all of that. You guys and the right to life people changed the political and social landscape on this issue. This hospital is now under immense pressure from you and from the right to life people. Democrats and Republicans have joined together on this one.

So far, there has been little news, but our attorney has told us to have hope; we haven't lost the battle yet. I will keep you all informed if there is any news on this. Andrea has until Sunday and we're not giving up on her. Please, don't you give up either. You have so much power; you have no idea the power that you have resting in that keyboard, there, right in front of you.
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liberalla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #89
97. Thank you for posting this update!
"This hospital is now under immense pressure from you and from the right to life people. Democrats and Republicans have joined together on this one."

Hurray! It's good to know they are feeling the pressure.

"Andrea has until Sunday and we're not giving up on her."

Something has got to happen before Sunday!

Yes, that doctor of hers- Dr. Giveon, who went on vacation??? right after committing your sister to death?!?!? OMG. What a weasel thing to do. He deserves his own welcome back parade and protest. What a jerk. But, I'm being petty. That is not the priority right now.

First and foremost is getting this death sentence, this euthanasia order lifted, delayed, reversed... cancelled!

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Hawkeye-X Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #97
98. I hope Dr. Ron Giveon
Will be facing his own medical ethics hearing before he loses his license to practice medicine. That quack has no business in choosing life or death for people and then weet on vacation. That man needs to face civil lawsuits and malpractice lawsuit.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-27-06 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #89
106. Keep fighting
Life is all we have.
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KingFlorez Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-26-06 01:38 PM
Response to Original message
92. I'm so sorry this is happening
It's horrible that this kind of thing could happen in this country
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locke22 Donating Member (3 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-27-06 04:36 AM
Response to Original message
101. Glad to hear the Right to Life people are helping
Good luck to your family and your sister.
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shance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-27-06 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #101
103. Im glad to hear it as well. I didn't realize they have been helping.
That is good news.
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bj2110 Donating Member (802 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-27-06 05:00 PM
Response to Original message
105. k & r-. heartwrenching and totally maddening... we're with you
Edited on Thu Apr-27-06 05:01 PM by bj2110
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-27-06 09:45 PM
Response to Original message
109. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
bamapachyderm Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-28-06 01:40 AM
Response to Reply #109
110. huh?
Excuse me, but is there a reason why you think she would make this up? Do you have any idea what her attorney is doing? And "nurses are a churchy, touchy-feely lot?"

Are you just here to be cruel?


:grr:
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Yvonne Donating Member (5 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-28-06 08:00 AM
Response to Reply #109
111. One Outraged Person?
I am the niece of Melanie, Lanore and Andrea (the patient) and have been watching what everyone has been writing. (When I'm not working, taking care of my grandson or dealing with this) You may just see posts from "one outraged woman" but she represents us all! We are ALL outraged at this hospital!! Who are YOU to judge her? "True condition"? Are you insinuating that any of my family is lying about her condition?! Let me tell you one thing.... yesterday the hospital offered to pay $15,000 to transport her to another hospital IF the decision was made yesterday. IF the decision to move her to this "other" hospital wasn't made until today, they would only pay half of that. How sick is that?! Now it's about money!

In 15 years who's to say they won't pull your life support?! Obviously you haven't read everything that has been stated by her attorney nor do you care. I bet you would behave differently if it were your family member!

For all of you who helped with contacts and spreading the news about this, my mom (Andreas sister Mary) says thank you, you may have saved Andreas life. God Bless!!
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rasputin1952 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-28-06 08:30 AM
Response to Reply #109
113. Allow me to put some insight into your comment.
Medical Records are private documents. One cannot just state they want them read aloud, it is not just the patient that is involved, but physicians, nurses and the hospital itself, that, with out a court order, cannot disclose information them. Lawyers can speak of generalities in said documents, but they would open themselves to dire consequences if they disclose what is in Med Rec's without going through a whole heap of hoops and jumps. Just ask Rush Limbaugh about Med Rec's.

It is not that there is a question here about legality, it is a moral question as well. Is the law in TX a moral law? I don't think so, it was designed to allow those that can afford it, an extra chance at life, and those that cannot, an inevitable death. I have no idea about this woman's condition as far as the prognosis of the disease, except what I have read here; I do know one thing: If she has decubitus ulcers, (pressure/bed sores), she is receiving sub-standard care. These are completely preventable through various means, the most common, (and easiest), being 1-2 hour repositioning.

But the point goes beyond this. Does an insurance company have the right to determine when a person's care should stop? A group of people, maybe a group only of 2 or 3, hundreds or thousands of miles away should be able to make this decision? Maybe I'm wrong on this, but payments were made in good faith that the insurance company would keep to it's end of the bargain, does an insurance company have the right to change it's mind if the cost becomes excessive? I don't think so, and I'm willing to bet most people would agree with me on that.

If the insurance company denies payment, the cost goes to the state. This is why the law was enacted; it is a way to save money over a life. Who is to say what is a "futile attempt to save a life"?

I don't have all of the answers, but to me, this is cut and dried, the insurance company has a contract with this woman, and they should honor that contract.
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Yvonne Donating Member (5 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
114. UPDATE ON ANDREA CLARK
The patient is getting better each day! Her lungs are now clear and her blood pressure down. Her white cell count is dropping daily.


http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/3828539.html
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lavenderdiva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #114
115. thanks for the update, Yvonne...
and Welcome to DU!! :hi:

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sndrake Donating Member (7 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-01-06 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #114
116. Yvonne, you and your family have our support (Not Dead Yet)
Yvonne,

Diane Coleman has been in touch with both Melanie and Lanore via email and phone. We've got some good people in the disability community in Texas on it - there's been concern about this law for awhile.

For what it's worth, we put out a press release today, putting our $.02 into the debate. Hopefully, we can help drive home the idea that the outrage over "futility" policies cut across ideological lines:

Disability Advocates: Texas 'Futile Care' Law Should Be Euthanized
http://www.notdeadyet.org/docs/TXfutilecarelawPR0506.ht...
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Yvonne Donating Member (5 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-02-06 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
118. 5/2/06 Andrea Update
I've talked to my aunt Lanore and found out that the new doctor (Dr. Lenz) has taken Andrea off of the blood pressure meds that keep her blood pressure up since she seems to be maintaining on her own and doesn't need them. Her lungs are still clear and her white blood cell count has remained down for four days now. Dr. Lenz met with the team of doctors and discussed Andrea today and they all agreed to NOT take her off of life support. Is that WONDERFUL news?!! They are already cutting back on her pain meds and she appears to be resting better than she was before.

I still don't trust that hospital...... I think the family would all collapse if the process started over again.

Thanks everyone for all the continued support. The mass prayers are working!

This isn't the end of this. There is a long road ahead for her recovery AND we need to get rid of this law! I keep thinking.... what are they going to do to me in 15 years when I'm her age?!
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