Texas 10-Day Rule: Life in the Balance

Date:  May 8, 2019  
Host:   Jim Schneider  
​Guest:  John Seago
MP3 ​​​| Order

What would you do if your spouse, son, daughter or other loved one was rushed to the hospital for some reason and their care required being put on a ventilator or some other piece of life sustaining medical equipment?

Now suppose the hospital then said that after meeting about the situation, they’ve decided that 10 days from that moment, your loved one would be taken off life support. In addition, no objection of yours would be able to overcome the force of state law. It’s literally a death sentence with a 10 day notice.

This is precisely what’s happening in Texas and joining Jim to discuss this situation was John Seago. John is the legislative director for Texas Right to Life.

The 10 day rule is a provision of the Texas Advance Directives Act. This law was passed in 1999. The goal was to give hospitals and physicians a step-by-step process to follow whenever there would be a disagreement between a physician and a patient/family concerning basic life sustaining treatment (food, water, ventilator, dialysis, etc.).

Unfortunately, at the end of the process, the physician and the hospital automatically get to win the argument. So if the physician feels the basic, life sustaining treatment needs to be withdrawn, and the family requests that it be continued, the physician has the final word on the matter as long as they follow the legal process. They have complete immunity from any lawsuits and/or the loss of their medical license.

When the law was passed in 1999, it did include artificial nutrition and hydration. In 2015, patient protections were added for food and water.

According to John, the majority of the cases today surround the need for a ventilator. Dialysis still applies, so that can be removed by the physician under current Texas law.

As the program progressed, details were presented about the following individuals and how the current legal environment in Texas affected their lives:

–Chris Dunn, who’s life was devalued after seeking treatment for a kidney condition.

–A young 4 year old boy named Clifton who suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2012.

–Testimony from Clifton’s mother before a committee hearing.

–The current story of 61 year old Carolyn Jones, an African-American woman who is under pressure to have her ventilator and dialysis removed on Monday, May 13th.

More Information:

To encourage Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick to pass Senate Bill 2089 that will attempt to fix the current law, call 512-463-0001.


www.capitol.texas.gov (to find your individual Texas legislators)

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