I’m a subscriber to the new reader-supported online news site, The Texan
which is the project of former State Senator, Konni Burton
, having recently paid for the annual subscription. (A heads up: if you click through on all my links, you’ll risk using up all your free views this month.)
But I’m disappointed to see a definite spin in today’s news story
about the Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA), even though one of my WingRight blog posts
isn’t just for disagreements over whether CPR and ventilator support are “medically inappropriate treatment
” It covers any dispute between the doctor and the hospitalized patient when “the attending physician refuses to honor a patient’s advance directive or a health care or treatment decision made by or on behalf of a patient
.” (emphasis mine) This could be demand for inappropriate surgery or medications or if the patient refuses to leave the hospital or be transferred after 6 months, for instance.
From all the previous news reports and blog posts, her husband’s testimony
to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, and a few of my blogs,
Mrs. Carolyn Jones’ case seems to be a disagreement over whether to transfer her from the hospital, where she’s been admitted and improving for about six months.
Mrs. Jones is not dependent on the ventilator.
In fact, it sounds like Mrs. Jones has had excellent treatment at the hospital,
even after the Committee meeting on March 8.
Mr. Jones told the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee that the doctors at the hospital successfully weaned Mrs. Jones from the ventilator.
He also said that three other facilities are ready for her admission.
Drew White, Senior Editor of The Texan
, and I communicated by email over the weekend, after I wrote to explain some errors
in the news coverage.
I’m happy to see that today’s article by reporter Tony Guajardo quotes both opponents and supporters of TADA and corrected the impression that Mrs Jones is dependent on the ventilator: “She requires dialysis, occasionally needs a ventilator for breathing assistance, and uses a feeding tube.“
All of these treatments are routinely provided at lower level of care facilities, other than tertiary hospitals.
And yet, today’s The Texan article still misrepresents this case: “UPDATE: Recovering Beaumont Woman’s Life-Sustaining Treatment to End Due to 10-Day Rule.”
There’s also a quote from Mrs. Jones’ daughter, repeated from the earlier article: ““My mom is going to die on Monday because of a law that saves hospitals money.”
It turns out that money and Medicaid paperwork is actually what is keeping the family from allowing Mrs. Jones to be transferred to another doctor and facility. The family is concerned that they (rather than the hospital) will be responsible for the costs of Mrs. Jones’ care.
This is in spite of the fact that when a patient first goes on dialysis, she becomes immediately and automatically eligible to apply for Medicare and Social Security Disability.
Depending on assets and income, patients unable to work on dialysis also qualify for Medicaid and other State benefits in Texas. Medicaid will even pay bills retroactively for three months.
Even more than usual, I double checked all of my information to ensure that I’m right that Mrs. Jones isn’t dependent on hospital treatments – since it was reported in the article that the hospital would withdraw “life-sustaining treatments” at 2 PM, today, May 13, 2013.
The good news is that she isn’t dependent on the ventilator, dialysis is not constant but only 2-3 times per week and paid by Medicare, food and water by the feeding tube can’t be withheld under TADA.
Hopefully, the Jones family will finally agree to transfer her, even if costs them more than her Medicare & Social Security Disability will pay.