The Texas Advance Directive Act of 1999 (TADA) describes “Advance Directives to Physicians” (what most people would call a “Living Will”) and contains Section 166.046, an attempt to outline the procedure for resolving a disagreement between a doctor and patients or their surrogates about what is medically appropriate treatment.
The law currently in effect requires the doctor to notify the patient or the surrogate when he or she believes that their request is medically appropriate. If there is still a disagreement, the doctor asks the hospital to convene a meeting of their ethics committee. If the committee agree agrees with the doctor, and no other doctor is willing to take over the care of the patient, the treatment in question can be withheld or withdrawn. TADA doesn’t allow “Physician Assisted Suicide” and certainly doesn’t allow euthanasia, where the patient might be killed on purpose.
The Texas Senate passed Senator Bob Duell’s Senate Bill 303, which significantly improves current law. SB 303
- Requires the doctor to notify the patient or his surrogate before writing a “Do Not Attempt Resuscitation” order,
- Prohibits the withdrawal of artificially administered hydration and nutrition except in extreme circumstances and
- Gives families 5 days instead of 2 to prepare for the ethics committee meeting and 21 days instead of 10 before the patient must transfer care to another doctor,
- Outlines the duties of the hospital to treat all patients the same, regardless of age, disability, or ability to pay, to provide a trained liaison to assist the family, and requires timely copies of the medical records.
Because SB 303 still needs to pass in the House, Texas Alliance for Life asked me to help them make a video explaining how it reforms current law.
If you agree that SB 303 is a pro-life reform Bill please call your State Representative at 512-463-4630 and ask him or her to support SB 303.
My “Ethics 101” on the law: “Back to Basics on Texas Advance Directive Act”