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Right to Life, COVID, 16 May, 2020

The “Right to Life” means the negative right not to be killed by intentional acts. It’s not the right to force others to invest our life, liberty or property other than the duty to intervene against infringement. This is a basic negative right, not a positive right.

There’s a huge difference between personal responsibility in avoiding a risk to yourself and actively causing harm to someone else. Self-defense rather than selfish demands, using only appropriate force on others.

You know, the old “your right to swing your fist ends at my nose!” (Especially Appropriate in this case.)

*You* take the actions *you* believe are responsible. Only frequent places/businesses that require masks if you want, do the work necessary to maintain the social distancing you are comfortable with. Don’t force everyone else to do your work for you.

In-Justice “In like Flynn” (after 3 years)

This all makes me physically ill. Documents withheld for over 3 years.

Hand written note “get him to lie.”

Special ProsecuterMueller’s investigation had some of these documents. Did Horowitz?
I have said that justice died the day that Kelo was decided and Terri Schiavo was killed by medically pulling her feeding tube & threatening her mother with Sheriff’s deputies guarding her to ensure dehydration.

Then, Comey pulled his Hillary stunt and the DOJ handed out immunity like candy. Then, the Russia hoax, and impeachment with Schiff claiming ownership of interview documents.

Law enforcement forcing the elderly to sit on sand rather than beach chairs and parents arrested for playing with their own children.

Now FISA courts subverted, 66 yo’s are arrested in their homes in SWAT assaults, and this, with Flynn. The FBI leadership planned to go after Flynn, in order to prosecute or get him fired.

Then, the documents and others proving the plan were held – hidden – for over three years in spite of a judge ordering them turned over.

The real story is the lies they told, and especially the fact that they hid these documents 3 years after they were ordered by a judge to turn them over!

They didn’t appeal the judge’s rulling: they obstructed justice, hiding and denying their existence! The Sztrok/Page texts were supposedly destroyed, remember? Then some were turned over as if the complete record.

Justice is dead and the body has been repeatedly mutilated.

Edit: 509 PM AST 30/04/20 To add 2nd & 3rd to last paragraphs BBN

“Mostly False,” Politifact “Fact Check”

Researching the what-about-isms & dueling accusations about who didn’t take the novel coronavirus seriously enough, soon enough, I came upon a “fact check” on PolitiFact that defies understanding except as a lie. An intentional lie.

Let me tell the story with screen shots, no more.

“Mostly False”

Biden quote Number 1:

Biden quote link, here

Biden quote Number 2:

Link, here

Biden quote number 3:

Link to this quote, here.

To kill or not to kill – or even to call it killing?

It seems that an advocate of Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide (EAS), which is legal in Canada since 2016, complained to the “The Protection of Conscience Project” administrators about their use of the word, “killing,” rather than “Medically Assisted Death” (MAD) when writing about the law. The wording of the objection exposes the potential limitations even on thoughts, much less the act of refusal, of physicians who object to participating in EAS.

In response, Sean Murphy, an Administrator of the Project, discusses and defines the acts and prohibitions involved in EAS, threatened conscience protection in law as decided by Canadian legislators and courts, and policy statements of the Canadian Medical Association.
A recent case decided by the Supreme Court of Canada considered “whether or under what circumstances physicians and institutions should be allowed to refuse to provide or collaborate in homicide and suicide.” While the Canadian courts have not made it illegal to refuse, the author points out that the Canadian Medical Association now considers EAS medical treatment. Although refusal isn’t illegal, if it becomes “unethical,” the licenses of conscientious objectors may one day be at risk. (Mr. Murphy let me know that the CMA is trying to respect both views)*
Just as all inalienable rights are dependent on the protection of the right to life, all medical ethics principles (autonomy, beneficence, justice) are based on the foundation of nonmaleficience, “Cure when possible but, first, do no harm.” This is the First Principle of Medicine.
The editorial gives an useful “litmus test” for discerning between ethical and unethical acts carried out under the umbrella of medical therapy: it’s considered a “failure” if the patient doesn’t die as a result of EAS.
In contrast, the intent of withdrawal or withholding medical treatment is not necessarily to cause death, but to stop acts that are unwanted or medically inappropriate because they do not heal, cure, slow the progression of the disease or relieve pain and suffering, but actually exasperate suffering and may cause damage beyond that inflicted by the disease.
To use a current case in the news in the USA (which I recently covered here), Baby Tinslee Lewis’ doctors wish to withdraw life sustaining treatment that they believe is medically inappropriate. The doctors would not consider it a failure if, rather than die of her severe heart and lung damage, she continued to live.
Canada is already far down the slippery slope of mandating participation in induced (elective) abortion and “MAD” by designating each as “therapeutic and medical services.” The Project Conscience authors rightly predict the possible consequences:
“[I]f the state can force unwilling people to kill or help to arrange for the killing of other people, there would seem to be nothing that the state cannot demand of its citizens. This would promote the development of dangerous forms of authoritarian and even totalitarian government: ultimately more effective and deep-rooted, perhaps, within a democratic framework than they ever have been in dictatorial regimes.”

(*EDITED An earlier version stated that licences were at risk. Not yet.

BBN 11 February 2020 12:30 AM)

More thoughts on Texas Advance Directive Act

I was asked about the #BabyTinslee case and what we should do, what can we do, in the disputed cases.

We need to educate more. People don’t understand basic medical ethics in this day of “choice.”

Autonomy doesn’t supersede nonmaleficience. In other words, the First Principle of medicine, “Cure when possible, but first do no harm,” always should guide us, rather than “wants” or “choice.”

In the end, doctors are the ones actually performing the acts and we’re most likely to understand the projected outcome. We benefit from oversight by colleagues and the community, both informally and in the process prescribed by the Texas Advance Directives Act.

Some people demand that every one of these cases go to court, for “due process” and “cross examination.”

But judges and courts can’t be as knowledgeable as doctors are. Their decisions are necessarily informed by dueling (paid) lawyers and (hired) medical experts.

In all the cases that have gone to court, the family has had quite a lot of notice, but the 48 hour notice before the committee meeting is perceived as too abrupt, especially since the relationships all appear to be adversarial by that point.

(And who could get your family to a meeting in 2 days?)

The 10 days isn’t thought to be long enough to arrange a transfer, either. Again, in many of the Court cases, the attempts to find another doctor willing to accept the patient’s care has begun before the committee meeting.

Doctors acknowledge the great trust and privileges we are given by agreeing not to abandon our patients. When we have a disagreement with a patient or surrogates (usually a familymember), we accept that we must continue treatment for a period of time. But not indefinitely.

If we could get the reforms that have been attempted to lengthen the statutory timeframe (multiple times) since before 2005, the TADA would be much better. It’s still the best process we have, currently.

A Lawyer, A Life, A Lie

Lawyer Wesley Smith has done good work in the past on end of life issues, but he is once again lying in order to score political points.

In his January 7, 2020 op-ed column for National Review, Smith accuses the doctors in the Tinslee Lewis case of wanting her to die, writing, “continued life is precisely what the doctors/bioethicists don’t want.”

Smith laughably misnames Texas’ Attorney General, Ken Paxton:

(He’s also evidently unaware that Tinslee’s “parents” are actually a single mother. Which would be irrelevant other than the fact that he refers to the “parents,” so often.)

Mr. Smith is so wrong. The doctors do not want Tinslee to die. They want to stop causing her near death several times a day.

They want to do for Tinslee,  not to her.

Tinslee’s doctors report that due to the delicate balance of Tinslee’s lung capacity and heart function she has 2-3 “death events” every day, each of which requires aggressive resuscitation efforts.

The difference between doctors and this lawyer in the tragic case of Tinslee Lewis is that the doctors are at the bedside all day, every day.

The doctors are the ones putting their hands on and minds to work for Tinslee while  Smith sits in his office calling them murderers and writing about coercing them to act against their best medical judgment. Her medical records submitted to  the court report that her doctor and nurses often spend time educating and counseling Tinslee’s single mother.

Shame on lawyer Smith for once again distilling months of highly competent, complicated and excellent care down to an accusation of murderous intent.

That’s a lie.

Miracles in a predictable universe

We are blessed with a universe that’s predictable and testable, yet we pray for miracles. And we pray for miracles, but act as though human actions can block them. Is the will of the Creator Who spoke the physical laws into existence limited by humans if they act as though the universe is predictable and testable?

Those of us who practice medicine are limited by the physical laws, the predictable and testable, with an emphasis on the tested. Our education and experience is based on these tested predictions and guide our decisions, and we’re watched and sometimes redirected by our colleagues, patients, laws and the community.

And then, there’s the best test of all: time.

In fact, I once noted that a patient who outlived the “10 Day Rule” might have proved the doctor (who instigated the process from the Texas Advanced Directive Act) wrong. There might have been a few cases like this, just as I believe there have been miracles. 

However, can you tell me how to measure these events and predict their occurrences, much less practice medicine based on them?

In the majority of TADA cases when treatments weren’t withdrawn, the patient died in the exact manner the doctors predicted, after the same interventions -and sometimes more invasive and tortuous “treatments” than the ones the doctor originally objected to. 

Doing to, not for (Baby Tinslee & TADA)

“We’re doing things to her. Not for her.” (Wini King, spokesperson for Cook’s Children’s Hospital, January 3, 2020) This may be the best description of a very sad case. 

Tinslee Lewis was born prematurely on February 1, 2019, with severe heart and lung defects. She had cardiogenic shock and was admitted to the Cardiac ICU at Cook’s Children’s Hospital immediately. ♡(See Cardiac Pathology ♡below.)

Even after three open heart surgeries, a fourth to close her sternum, a short time on ECMO (essentially, heart-lung bypass) and constant ventilator since July, of 2019, Tinslee’s enlarged heart and small, damaged lungs can’t keep up with the necessary blood circulation and exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, even with the assistance of multiple blood pressure medicines, diuretics and the ventilator on high, except when she’s still and quiet with the help of sedating and paralyzing drugs.


In response to a lawsuit against Cook’s Children’s Hospital,  where Tinslee has been in the CICU since birth, Tinslee’s medical records were submitted to the Court.  I’ve been able to review approximately 200 pages that are now public record, describing the constant,  repetitive interventions necessary to keep Tinslee alive on the ventilator.  

Tinslee’s doctors (and, the notes show, the nurses and staff) believe that they are being forced to cause Tinslee pain and suffering, while keeping her paralyzed and sedated. They report increasing difficulty with managing the ventilator so that her damaged heart & lungs can maintain oxygenation. She requires repetitive heart, lung and blood tests to guide adjustment of meds & treatments and has had several infections requiring treatment. In contrast to my earlier presumption, the notes in the records show that the ventilator and all its required meds and manipulations are indeed causing undesired problems, including fluid overload, infections and cardiopulmonary distress, in addition to her underlying lung disease. Even the baby’s growth, something we usually celebrate, increases her risk of cardiopulmonary insufficiency. 

Those records also contain notes from many attempts to explain and council Trinity Lewis,  Tinslee’s mother,  about her baby’s underlying problems and prognosis and the reasoning behind, in contrast to some past media reports.

Ignoring the fact that doctors, not hospitals, practice medicine in Texas, Texas Right to Life Lawyer Joe Nixon is quoted, claiming that the “hospital ” has decided to withdraw treatment. Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, is shown to have Tweeted that the problem is a “legal issue,” rather than an ethics and justice matter of forcing doctors (and by their orders, nurses and other staff) to cause pain and suffering for a little girl who is dying as her body fails to heal, in spite of every intervention possible.

Many people, out of compassion, object that “the family ” should decide when to withdraw life support. Yet, the family  members aren’t watching the oxygen levels drop while they rinse Tinslee’s airways with a bicarbonate solution to keep her lungs clear. And it’s certainly not the lawyers that are probing, injecting, measuring and adjusting constant, innumerable hourly interventions done to a baby who must be sedated and paralyzed to prevent cardiac and respiratory distress. 

In spite of the diligent  complicated interventions and care of the doctors and nurses at Cook’s, there have been comments in blogs and social media that the “hospital” wants to “kill” Tinslee. Startlingly,  AG Paxton called the latest Court ordered, indefinite hold on removal of life support  a “Stay,” as though the doctors, not her multiple medical problems, would kill Tinslee. He also misrepresents the process that Cook’s Children’s Hospital and Tinslee’s doctors followed,

“The statute fails to require that physicians provide an explanation of why they refused life-sustaining treatment and provide the patient’s family with adequate notice and opportunity to argue their position prior to the committee reaching a decision, effectively allowing the government to deny an individual’s right to his or her own life and to do so without due process.”

In fact, though, it is the lawyers, particularly at Texas Right to Life, who are turning a little girl’s tragedy into a continuation of their legal battle against the Texas Advance Directive Act. I’ve covered the benefits of and the struggle to improve the Act – repeatedly blocked by TRTL and their lawyers – for years on both WingRight.org and Lifeethics.org

The Act, TADA, was hammered out in 1999 by a group of stakeholders   including  patient and disability advocates, hospitals, doctors, ethicists and lawyers. Texas’ prolife organizations,  including TRTL and the organization for which I served on the Board of Directors for 15 years, Texas Alliance for Life, and for whom I wrote this essay.  

Briefly, TADA allows a balance and legal options when there’s a difference in opinion between a patient’s desire for a given treatment and the medical judgment (a combination of education, experience, and the standard of care) of the doctors who are tasked with the most difficult medical and surgical cases. 

I’ll admit that it’s my opinion – and only my opinion – that the lawyers hate that TADA provides a safe haven from lawsuits if doctors follow the law (!). I slowly came to this conclusion over the years because at virtually every Legislative hearing and stakeholders’ meeting about any changes to the Act, the lawyers bemoan the fact that doctors don’t have to go to court over each of these cases and that they face no legal penalty or “liability.” 

Poor Tinslee Lewis will most likely never leave the hospital alive. Disease and death don’t respect “due process,” but, they are predictable and an inevitable part of life. Hopefully,  we will see her mother and those who love her come to find peace with her death, celebrating the time they’ve had to be with her, especially these last 2 months. However, I fear that the lawsuits will continue for years, adding to their grief.

Edited 1/19/2020 for a typographical error: in the secondparagraph, “cardiogenic” replaced “carcinogenic.” BBN

♡Ebstein Anomaly – Cardiac Pathology 101, about as simple as I can make it (and understand,  too);

Ebstein Anomaly
(Thanks to Mayo Clinic)

Babies born with Ebstein Anomaly have a malformed right and atrium and ventricle and misplaced (tricuspid) valves between the right sided ventricle and atrium. The larger right ventricle can’t pump efficiently. 

In addition,  the blood the right ventricle tries to pump into the lungs leaks/flows/churns (risking blood clots) back into the right atrium, which grows even bigger, with even thicker walls. The ventricle also grows bigger. When the  muscle fibers of the chamber walls get stretched apart enough, they are less inefficient. (Think of two hands gripping at the fingers. The farther out the grip, palm > 1st joint  > fingertips,  the less strength and pull on the opposite hand.) (For the geeks: Frank-Starling law.

The lungs aren’t efficiently filled with blood, they don’t expand, the pressure builds up in them and efficient exchange of gasses doesn’t take place. 

In the meantime, the blood backs up in the body, the liver, kidneys and extremities & eventually the left side of the heart, which can hypertrophy , too. 

The enlarged heart puts pressure on the lungs and nearby soft tissue,  including the blood vessels coming to the heart.

The combination of leaking high pressure blood vessels and the body’s increasing fluid in order to try to pump what oxygen there is, leads to edema or swelling of the body.

Sometimes,  the fetal atrial-septal defect stays open, allowing mixing of the un-oxygenated blood from the right, with the oxygenated blood. This malfunction can help, temporarily. 

With the high pressure, poor flow, and actual physical damage due to the mass of the heart, none of the organs can function well. Increased activity, stress, and growth will increase the demand for oxygen, kidney & lung function.

Texas transgender (7 yo) case

I don’t believe it’s appropriate for a child to undergo transition at such an early age, but there’s a few gaps in this story.

There is very little media coverage of the case, with opinion from only one side published online. I picked the report about the court decision that’s most comprehensive, even with some errors.

Mostly, this appears to be an especially ugly divorce battle. The dispute about transition has been going on since the child was 3 years old.

The child is one of two twins conceived by in vitro fertilization using the father’s sperm and a donor egg. The mother carried the two to term and delivered.

The mother filed the suit to end joint custody, but the father demanded that the jury decide custody, rather than the judge.

The jury was charged with 2 questions: should one parent have sole custody and should that parent be Mr Younger. They answered yes and no: one should have sole custody, but it shouldn’t be the father. The judge will rule this week on who gets custody & conditions.

I’m not sure, but I’m reading that there’s no immediate plans for puberty blockers & finding quite a bit of info that the blockers aren’t permanent.

I can’t help but hope there’s more to this story, because I still can’t accept a decision like this, at this age.

Eat the Rich (with the rest of us for desert)

Dems used to just act as though government owns your current and future earnings. Now, they want to know the value of your wedding ring, grandma’s China, the homestead, & your golden parachute. The plan is to tax them *every year* until you have to sell them (to them?) to pay those taxes.

“But, but, but,” you say, “It’s only on the greedy $Ultra-Rich!”

  • A wealth tax like the one proposed by presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren would make ultra-wealthy Americans pay the federal government a small percentage of their net worth each year.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders released his own proposal for a wealth tax on September 24 that his campaign claims would cause “the wealth of billionaires would be cut in half over 15 years.”

Suuure it is. That’s what they said about the income tax in 1913. (and you can keep your doctor, too.)

By 1918, the highest tax rate went from 1% to 67%, 77% in 1918. The lowest on incomes less than $4000, went from 0% to 6%.

No, the $UltraRich might not all up and leave the country. The income tax law requires expats to continue paying US income tax for years after leaving.

Yes, in a (coco)nut shell, that is it. If you want the tax break, all you have to do is abandon everything you own, book a flight and never return, or at least not that much anyway. (HT: The Points Guy)

If you denounce your citizenship, you may be liable to an “Exit tax” calculated as though you sold everything you own on the day you “expatriate.” And you can’t get your citizenship back.

So, what we have is a bunch of 70 year olds who have enjoyed their wealth and some 20- to 30-somethings who don’t want to pay their student loans and don’t really want to work hard enough to accumulate wealth on their own.

Eat the Rich. It’s a thing.

Nite: comments disabled. Please comment on my Facebook page.

Replace male statues in Central Park with women?

If everyone gets a trophy, why should anyone get a statue? Especially men?

Yes, here’s the next woke thing:

The New York Post reports that a City commissioner proposes to “Replace male statues in Central Park with women.”

“”A member of the commission that oversees art and architecture on city property suggested Monday that instead of simply adding statues of historical female figures to Central Park, the panel yank out some of the male ones first.

““There are what, five or six [male] statues that I think could easily be replaced by individual statues of each of these women,” said Hank Willis Thomas, a painter who serves on the Public Design Commission, at a hearing at City Hall.

“Thomas appeared to be specifically fingering statues including that of Scottish poet Robert Burns, in the park’s Literary Row, and the one of Christopher Columbus in the park, near the famed second one of the explorer in Columbus Circle, for removal.”

Goodbye Columbus indeed!

Texas Governor Abbott on “Suspicious Activity”

Texas’ Governor Greg Abbott ( @GovAbbott ) isn’t trying to change Texas law with last week’s Executive Order – in contrast to the claims I’ve seen on my Facebook news feed.

Instead, he called for law enforcement agencies under the executive branch to establish policies and training, and financial incentives to encourageimproving reporting channels and closing ‘information gaps’ when members of the public or law enforcement agencies worry that a person might be a threat to commit violence.

The last three mass shootings in Texas tell us that we need to improve how our law enforcement and agencies follow current law on following up on reports and investigations.

The Sutherland Springs Church shooter in South Texas should have been rejected at point of sale background check because of his prior conviction and incarceration for domestic violence crimes while in the military. Unfortunately, he was never reported to the Federal database. (And so, Texas law probably couldn’t have made any difference.)

However, the Odessa shooter threatened and brandished a weapon at his neighbor, but local Law Enforcement Officers didn’t follow up because his house wasn’t on their GPS maps and was difficult to find!

The El Paso shooter’s mother tried to report him, but the LEO who spoke to her on the phone dismissed her concerns. No record of the call was made, according to the Allen police department.

I’m not sure that current laws would have (or should have) allowed any action against the (future) shooter by authorities, but it looks like that question and reporting procedures are what Governor Abbott wants clarified. From the Executive Order:

“”Within thirty days of this order, the Texas Department of Public Safety shall develop standardized intake questions that can be used by all Texas law-enforcement agencies to better identify whether a person calling the agency has information that should be reported to the Texas Suspicious Activity Reporting Network.

Within thirty days of this order, the Department of Public Safety shall develop clear guidance, based on the appropriate legal standard, for when and how Texas law-enforcement agencies should submit Suspicious Activity Reports.”‘

The question should be whether the “standardized questions” and reporting processes might have made a difference. Unfortunately, I’m not reading questions: I’m reading accusations that the Governor wants to impose “red flag laws” and confiscation of guns without due process of law.

The Governor previously directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to implement the “iWatch app” in June, 2018, allowing the public to report suspicious activity. There was no outcry then, and there doesn’t appear to be any “red flag” incidents because of this initiative.

Why do people think the Governor wants gun control now?

There’s no change in citizenship! None!

The false reports from the media have lots of people confused about US policy concerning the citizenship of children. I wrote about the confusion last week.

Twice this week, I’ve heard the false story that President Trump has decreed that children born on US soil will not automatically be US citizens!

Supposedly, the”law” will become final in October.
While President Trump favours ending “birthright” citizenship, Congress would have to change many laws they passed in the past.
But it’s not true!

There was an announcement of a policy clarification by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Children born on US soil are – and will continue to be for the foreseeable future – US citizens even if their parents aren’t citizens except where parents are in special positions, like diplomats for another country. This automatic citizenship even includes babies born on US soil to parents here illegally.
The policy changesyou’ve heard about concern children who -already- weren’t considered citizens by our State dept
A difference between the practices of the State department and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services is resulted in some children who thought they were citizens unable to obtain a passport.
The few who are affected are children whose parents aren’t citizens when they were born out, non-citizen children who are adopted, and children whose (neither) citizen parents have never lived in the US a minimum total of 5 years.

In spite of all the hyperbole last weekend, there hasn’t been much clarifying coverage in the news. Raise your hand if you’re not surprised.

OIG finds Comey violations. No big deal?

Some (political) animals are more equal, I guess.
Is this all there is to the OIG report by Michael Horowitz that we were told was coming in June? (It’s now the end of August.)
If not, why is the IG’s report piecemeal? Why is it taking so long? And why is the follow through on “wait until the IG finishes the investigation” so chaotic – or at the least, highly variable?
The Inspector General released info that he found Comey broke FBI policies *after* the Justice Department determined that Comey wouldn’t be prosecuted.
It turns out that Horowitz actually referred the Comey violation to the Justice Department for prosecution but the DOJ decided not to prosecute.

Who – in actual places of responsibility – cares about policies? What good is an Inspector General investigation and referral for prosecution, anyway?

Children born overseas (No change)

About the Trump Admin & citizenship of children who aren’t born citizens: don’t believe the spin. Nothing has changed in the law. In fact, the policy is the same as long standing State Department policy and practice.
The disputed policy update of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is here.

The “Highlights:”

•Clarifies that temporary visits to the United States do not establish U.S. residence and explains the distinction between residence and physical presence in the United States.

• Explains that USCIS no longer considers children of U.S. government employees and U.S. armed forces members residing outside the United States as “residing in the United States” for purposes of acquiring citizenship under INA 320.3

The regulations clarify the question of physical presence vs. “residing in” the US and the timing of the birth & citizenship.
Children of citizens who have lived in the US as citizens for 5 years before the birth – the usual situation for US military and government workers – will continue to “automatically” be citizens from birth.
Children who are born before a parent becomes a citizen, non-citizen children who are adopted by citizens, and children of US citizens who have not physically lived in the US for at least 5 years will need to become naturalized citizens. The parents must apply for citizenship for the child by his 18th birthday.

Not the hype you’re reading about in the news.

Edit: Penultimate sentence: “18” instead of “28.” On September 3, 2019. BBN

Washington Post attacks Life via Texas

The Washington Post distorts history and geography to advocate for abortion- and for the Democratic Party.
The Texas Medical Board this year reported that 25 Counties don’t have any physicians at all. Many Texas Counties are health care shortage areas because of there’s not enough population to keep doctors busy. And many high population centers are shortage areas because Texas has a doctor shortage over all.
In 2011, Texas cut virtually every item on our budget due to the requirement of the State Constitution to balance our budget. One measure used to balance the budget was to focus State healthcare dollars on County clinics and hospitals that provide comprehensive, continuing – not single organ system – care.
Then, in 2013 we prioritized public and county clinics and hospitals over those single-issue facilities. Planned Parenthood was never mentioned, nor were the other abortion providers in the State. If the clinic or group took care of the whole patient and didn’t provide abortions, they would be eligible after County and State funded health care was funded.

We could have done more if President Obama hadn’t blocked Texas from receiving Federal Women’s health or Family planning funds. Texas taxpayers paid into that Federal fund, but were denied its return to us. Texas did our best to fill in the gaps this lost funding created, allocating $32M of our State tax funds to Family Planning and Women’s Health programs in 2013-14.

In 2015, when the budget improved, we increased State spending for Women’s health and Family Planning beyond historic amounts. In 2019, nearly $400M was allocated, including raising the cut off for eligibility to 200% of the poverty level. $15M+ was set aside to improve post-partum care.

The main goal of the opinion piece is not only to increase State and Federal funding for Family Planning and Women’s Health. The author, Richard Rival of San Antonio, attacks Texan’s science, religion and assumes that government should consider elective abortion an integral part of “reproductive health” programs.

Nevermind that science affirms that the life of each human begins at fertilization. Or that “reproduction” has obviously occurred before any woman has an abortion, ending the life of that other body, her child. (Yes, one commenter tried to tell us that not only women seek abortions.)

But it’s the last paragraph that tells the truth about the author’s agenda, with a little side dressing of racism. Mr Rivard tells voters to end the ,”one-party state” – to force taxpayers to fund elective abortion for both citizens, non-citizens, and illegal aliens alike.

Beverly B Nuckols, MD

Edit 8/21/19 5:15 EST (France time) to fix typos. BBN

Leftist liars gonna lie about abortion –

“It’s not the baby’s fault for the sin of the father, or of the mother,” King said.

Remember this statement when you read or hear that Congressman Stephen King “defended” rape and incest.

In reality, he “defended” every child at risk of being killed because they are the result of a pregnancy after rape or incest.

And all the descendents of past pregnancies due to rape or incest.

Politicians and laymen alike should beware when publicly supporting the ethical position that all humans are, indeed, human at all stages of life and that they shouldn’t be killed: The Leftist liars will attack. In force.

Representative King wasn’t just defending the children of tomorrow: he was defenfing all of their descendents.

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest?” King told a breakfast meeting in Urbandale, Iowa. “Would there be any population of the world left if we did that? Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can’t say that I was not a part of a product of that.”

King was obviously referring to retroactive killing. After all, elective interventional abortion is the ending of a human’s life by intentional acts that are licensed and regulated under the medical codes of the various States.

Regardless of how they were conceived, every human is created equal and endowed with inalienable #HumanRights.

The faithful Left can’t tolerate equal rights endowed on all humans. They will invariably takeba any firm statement against their sacrament of abortion and their tools in the media will pull out sections, ignore the context, and turn it inside out, to spread the big lie.

So much the more if they can twist their lie into a defense of one of their own. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar cited the lying reports as proof of Republican “filth.”

(Nevermind that her own hometown paper, the Minnesota Star Tribune and her Somalian communityare the ones accusing her of biggamy as well as marrying her own brother to commit immigration fraud. Or that she’s been fined for filing false tax returnswith one of her husband’s. Y’all move along, there’s nothing to see, here.)

So tell me: how many people would be left alive if we killed every person who has an ancestors who was conceived in rape or incest?

New Political Party?

Claiming that ” ‘conservative’ and ‘Republican’ are now mere team names that have lost all meaning,” pseudo-Conservatives are trying to start a new movement, possibly a new Party. However, their #PrinciplesFirst aren’t Conservative.

The Principles have at least two fatal flaws.

1. They’re based on man-made law & artificial designations of “persons”& “citizens,” not on inalienable rights endowed on “all men” (humans).

The Constitution of the United States is an unique, exemplary document. But its strength and legitimacy depends on the concept of inalienable rights of humans that are not endowed by laws, men or any powers that be of this world. The Constitution can be amended. Human rights can only be infringed.

2. The list also errs in supporting “Each and every family unit – regardless of its shape.”

Would these families include those shaped by polygamy? Why not?

The Republican Platform can be downloaded for reading, here.

The Platform confirms most of the items in the Principles First list. However, the Preamble of the Republican Platform is clear on its origin:

“”We affirm — as did the Declaration of Independence: that all are created equal, endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

And equally clear on the”shape” of the family:

“”It is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of TT man and one woman.””

Correct these errors, and the “new” Principles would be indistinguishable from that of the Republican Party Platform. The effort should be to hold our elected officials to the Platform, to strengthen our Party, maintain and expand our Seniority in the Senate, win both back in the House. It’s certainly not Conservative to tear down. #FirstPrinciples

Texas’ reaction

At least 22 people are dead and another 20 to 40 wounded in El Paso, Texas, due to a planned, murderous rampageby a man who drove 650+ miles to reach the site. He carried a semi-automatic rifle and wore both eye and ear protection.

13 hours later, a second man also carried a long gun and put on eye and ear protection. He added a bullet proof vest and a huge ammunition magazine. When he attempted to enter a neighborhood bar, he was refused entry, was immediately surrounded by police, and yet managed to kill nine people and wound dozens of others.
These followed closely on the California Garlic Festival shooting that claimed three lives, including two children.

The killings alone are enough to prove the killers are evil and full of hate, but their history and social media portray individuals focused on hate, erasing all doubt. It appears that the Texas shooter identified with white supremacists white supremacists while also professing to be anti-government and anti-corporation, while concerned about the environment. The Ohio shooter was known to be obsessed with guns, had participated while armed in a counter-protest against white supremacists and was politically left-leaning. The motives of the California shooter aren’t clear at all.

Meanwhile, in Chicago,at least two mass shootings in public parks went nearly unnoticed, although seven people were killed by guns in the City and 52 were injured and treated at local hospitals.
Yet, Chicago and Illinois have some of the strictest gun control laws in the US:
“””The age to purchase a firearm is 21. The state requires gun owners to obtain licenses and face background checks as well as imposing waiting periods on firearms purchases. Judges can take guns away from owners who are deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. And recent legislation aims to begin a fingerprinting database of all gun owners in the state.””
However, as noted in that article,
“””Apparently it doesn’t work like that. (Someone should tell our elected leaders.)””
These are the same strict gun control measures that are now being demanded across the Nation. The contention is that strict gun laws will decrease gun violence.
The problem seems to be (both in Chicago and around the country) that legal gun owners are not the ones causing the issues, these gun control laws are also suspected of impacting poorer citizens disproportionately, and, in the recent cases, it’s unlikely that any of the often-proposed gun control laws would have prevented the murders: The murderers decided to kill people. Each went to extremes and broke laws already in place, in order to carry out their plans.

Evil will find a way.

The UK has had 285 knife killings in the UK IN 12 months, 40K+ knife attacks and hundreds of homicides using knives or other sharp instruments in the last year. Twenty people were killedwith a knife attack in Japan in 2016. Three more were killed and in another knife attack this year. In 2015, a man attacked teachers and students with a sword, killing two.
And this week, four people were killed and others wounded by a man with a knife in California, a State with the most strict gun laws in the country.
The greatest risk is that an unarmed populace is vulnerable to domination by armed criminals. Gun control in Mexico is nominally very strict, yet the gun murder rate is five times that of the US and large parts of the country are oppressed by organized – and armed – criminal cartels.

What will Texas response be?

I doubt that any of the proposed gun control laws will ever be passed in Texas.
First, it’s important to realize that Texas’s Legislature only meets every two years. The next Regular Session won’t meet until January, 2021. The Governor is unlikely to call a Special Session to increase gun control.
Second, in spite of calls by President Trump and some Republicans, it’s highly unlikely that the Lone Star State will back (attractive, even to me) “Red Flag” laws because of these attacks. So called “Red Flag” laws are billed as attempts to make it easier to seize guns from current owners who may be dangerous, but are certain to result in armed resistance by owners and the refusal by law enforcement. In fact, nearly half of the Sheriffs in Washington State have made it known that they won’t enforce that State’s new law, I-1639.
Any move to prohibit classes of guns and ammunition will likely face a successful court challenge, at least until the more unlikely event that the Second Amendment is constitutionally repealed. Even if you see repeal of the Second Amendment to the Constitution as a remote possibility, how quickly do you think it could happen?

In Texas, the result will probably be more guns.

I won’t be surprised to see an increase in gun purchases, in Concealed Carry License (CCL) applications and to see more current CCL holders actually carry, rather than to decide to leave the gun at home.
I do hope that more people will sign up for CCL, safety and response classes.
But, if we learned anything from these recent shootings, it’s not that guns are dangerous: The gun needs a human to pull the trigger. But it’s more obvious than ever that even when the police are present or respond immediately, they can’t prevent a determined killer from the attempt.

Candace Owens, Steve Bannon, future of the Republican Party

@SteveBannon: More bartenders and fewer lawyers, not the donor-class candidates.

@RealCandaceO; Mock the Left, be cultural, not so staid.

Here’s the video, https://youtu.be/qC-r0izU4j0

Me: Use the energy and frustration and STOP tearing each other down!

The interview started out covering the grass roots efforts to build a border wall using private money, but these two talk about even deeper issues.

Here in Texas, we have some perfect examples: MQS and Speaker Bonnen, the”Freedom Caucus” vs. the Republican Caucus and the division in the pro-life, pro-family community are prime examples of their position.

Since 2012 at least, the various factions in our own Republican Party of Texas are fast losing our sense of cameraderie, and have already lost our sense of humor. In order to prove our uber-conservatism has been engaged in “Ready, Fire, Aim,” a circular firing squad.

Take the Strickland vs. Geren cookie incident:

https://www.texastribune.org/2015/05/03/stickland-and-texas-house/

Sure, Gerens’ joke was a little mean spirited, but it was funny. Strickland would have been so much better laughing it off, perhaps offering Green some Grecian Formula in response.

I’ve compared our factions to the sanctimonious deacon who loudly and critically disapproves of the prodigal church members who show up on Mother’s Day or Easter Sunday. Rather than making them welcome and encouraging them to come back next week.

I know I’d rather debate an atheist on issues than some of our faithful. Both sides might tell me to go to hell, but it’s a lot more damning when the believers give you directions.

Consider: Is it true, is it really importantis it necessary, and will it make the situation better or turn the frustration back on our own side? Why not look for a way to turn the debate around to unite Conservatives in a win/win deal?

Arguing Abortion on YouTube

I usually agree with this doctor. But not about abortion. ZDoggMD, Zubin Damania, has a sense of humor and a sense of balance. But today, he demands that we to “come to the center” because 1 in 4 women in the US have an abortion by age 45. “It happens.”

Well, according to the 1860 US Census, approximately 25% of families owned slaves. “It happen(ed).” Common ground was hard to find there, too.

The question is whether or not abortion ends the life of a human that is human-enough to possess the Human Right not to be killed. Are they one of us and can we kill them if they don’t threaten our lives?

The first question has been definitively answered, at least scientifically. Louise Brown was born 5 years after Roe v Wade. Serial ultrasounds showing the progression of the egg to embryonic organism to fetus were possible soon after. (I’m tempted to echo the ZDogg, “Grow up and get into the 21st Century.” But of course, I won’t.)

Answering these questions according to ethics and law can’t be addressed by science and requires a bit more discussion. Nevertheless, the trend in Western societies has been toward including all humans as rights bearers endowed with at least the right not to be killed or treated as the property of another and preventing legally sanctioned killing and enslavement, regardless of characteristics, abilities, or background.

Beyond the life of the mother, the rest of ZDogg’s arguments are the usual justification for what I call, “I want” ethics, including arguments for the “control of the woman’s body,” the health of the woman, and exceptions for rape and incest.

Nik Hoot, a 20 year old young man from Indiana, lost his feet and part of his legs and fingers to an attempted abortion, but survived to be adopted, eventually a State Semi Finals high school wrestler, and a productive member of society. His mother’s body didn’t lose limbs; his did. As he says, he has to “live with someone else’s choice.”

As to the health of the mother, how could anyone know at 12 weeks that there will be sequelae at or after delivery?

The safety of abortion is most often reported using short term data. There’s support for increased mortality and morbidity in the long term, however.

Late discovery of fetal abnormalities isn’t a good argument in favor of induced abortion, either. After 15 weeks and definitely after 20, it’s statically safer for the mother to carry to term.

I won’t even entertain arguments that crime is down because the unwanted are killed. “Minority Report” has a double meaning, here.

Here’s an article from The Atlantic – not an “anti-choice” publication, by any standard – focusing on the rape exception.

Let’s face it: the wrong human is killed by abortion justified by reason of rape or incest. If you cringe at that statement, you might want to consider why.

Edit: Comments are closed. Please comment on my Facebook page.

Beverly B Nuckols, MD

I reconsider conspiracy theories

“.#NYTimeline: Pelosi declares a “cover up,” goes directly to meet @POTUS & it’s all “Trump Blows Up Meeting,” “tempestuous clash” & waging “war.” @NYT” (My tweet, this morning)

I’m not into conspiracy theories, because I’ve always doubted that 2 people can keep secrets. But evidently, a larger number can, if motivated like the WaPo, NYT, Brennan, Comey, State Dept., and the adulterous gang McCabe didn’t lead. For a while, at least…

The collusion, if you will, between the media and the Intelligence Community (IC) is pretty obvious and becoming more so by the day.

So, in contrast to my usual skepticism:

I’ll bet that the early 2017 media clique skipped over reports that the President was objecting to the counter investigation. They couldn’t know – or admit to knowing – about the information classified by the Obama administration before the inauguration. Those that might have heard – in all the leaks and reports that “came over the transom” – instead preferred to harp on the President’s denial about the Russian election interference.

It’s no surprise (now) that he was doubting the Intelligence Community from early on: he was hearing about “collusion” at the same briefings where he heard about the Russian election interference. If the IC was lying about one, why not the other?

Where are the BuzzFeed-like exposés about the investigations, the leaks?

There’s a good chance that, as happened here in Texas in the 2018 Senate race, media simply decided to withhold some of the”news that’s fit to print” and spread a little “darkness” (WaPo’s motto) of their own.

Updated information on TRTL, end of life, and money

One Texas Right to Life (TRTL) lawyer has posted an update on Facebook about the “rescue” of Mrs Carolyn Jones. I’m afraid that, as with the declaration that another patient was “slain,” TRTL is gaming the Medicare funding and Texas medical systems for political purposes.

Emily Cook, General Council for TRTL, wrote that she worried that “funny business clinically would happen as we moved her” from the hospital where Mrs. Jones has been admitted for over 6 months, where the docs had weaned her off the ventilator and wanted her to transfer to a more appropriate level of care facility over 2 months ago.

Emily says TRTL spent their own money (*see my last paragraph) to put her in a private ambulance and take Mrs. Jones to another hospital ER. That hospital couldn’t provide dialysis, so they in turn transferred her via ambulance somewhere else, to yet another hospital until admission can be arranged at the nursing home.

Even Lawyer Cook admits that the first move wasn’t “legit.”

Cook-ing the system

There were comments on various sites that the original hospital had refused transfer. However, from what I’ve read, it’s likely the hospital was refusing to be complicit with “patient dumping.” For a hospital to knowingly discharge a patient for the purpose of transferring to the ER of another hospital without (or even with) the acceptance of the transfer from the docs at the other facility is highly irregular, and likely goes against Medicare regulations.

Mrs. Jones’ Medicare funding for the original hospitalization is bound to have run out some time ago. Normally, Medicare will allow 90 days per admission, with an extra 60 “reserve” days, once per person, per lifetime. The patient is responsible for part of the bill from the first day of admission, and for the total hospital costs after the eligible days.

But there are still Medicare regulations to deal with in the case of “Medicare eligible” patients, even when they aren’t paying.

As to the refusal of the original hospital to accept private payment for in-hospital dialysis, there were 2 issues: Medicare funding about privately payment for covered services and the probability that the physician-patiebt relationship would be reset, along with the 10 days in the statute.

Medicare makes it very difficult and risky for everyone to navigate the private pay process. When I had a question in my private medical office about whether Medicare would cover something, we had the patient sign an informed consent agreement and an acknowledgement that the patient might have to eventually pay if Medicare denied the service. Then we performed the service, filed the charge with Medicare, waited to be denied, and then tried to Bill the patient. I gave away a lot tetanus vaccines and removed a lot of moles and warts for free to avoid the risk of “fraud and abuse” from the likes of Janet Reno.

The same risk would have applied if the hospital had privately charged Mrs. Jones’ Dialysis.

I don’t believe the first new hospital is at risk for a charge of “dumping” if they documented a legitimate reason. However, both new hospitals will be able to charge the Jones copays and co-insurance. They may also find Medicare coverage limited because of the way Mrs. Jones left the original.

Another, discussion has concerned the delay in funding from Medicaid:

“Medicaid limits 2019” (a .PDF)

I certainly don’t know the Jones’ financial circumstances, and I may have over estimated the maximum income in early speculation. However, there are strict maximum Medicaid income and asset levels. These vary according to age, disability, and marital status. (Even the government bureaucratic Leviathan doesn’t want the spouse if a nursing home patient to end up indigent.)

In my experience, the social workers and benefits experts at hospitals and nursing homes are experts at negotiating and translating the bureaucracy. In addition, the disabled Medicare eligible person will have access to a benefits specialist. I’ve never had a hospital discharge and nursing home admission blocked by this “paperwork.” Certainly not for months at a time.

*TRTL hasn’t updated their Carolyn Jones fundraising numbers since last week. That “Family Assistance Fund,” part of their 403(c) PAC, (AKA the Educational fund”), has been posted as a little over $33,000, since last Friday.

I hope TRTL assists the Jones family with what is certain to be several enormous hospital bills. As long as they pay the bills directly, the funds won’t be counted as income to Mrs. Jones.

Why does TRTL lie? (UPDATE)

I can’t tell you why, but it’s true: Well below their “Donate Now” banner, Texas Right to Life (TRTL) is shamefully spinning another one of their false stories.
Just as they lied on their website that Chris Dunn was “slain by his doctors,

they now post that a woman, Mrs. Carolyn Jones, had to be “rescued” from hers, “racing” to another facility “in the middle of the night.”

Okay, it’s night in that picture. That and the proper names are the only things they got right.
Mrs. Jones wasn’t “rescued” from the hospital that has been giving her excellent care for over 6 months. Nor were her doctors and nurses “surprised.” that she was able to breathe on her own. After all, they were the ones who weaned her from the ventilator over a month ago.
What was expected was that Mrs. Jones would be transferred out if the hospital where she’s been admitted since November, 2018 to a more appropriate, lower level of nursing care two months ago.
On April 10, Mr. Jones testified to the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee that, thanks to the hospital doctors, his wife now needed the ventilator only “occasionally at night.”

The family were given notice that they needed to transfer Mrs. Jones in March. They’ve had another doctor and three facilities capable of providing the treatments she needs waiting to accept Mrs. Jones.

When the family of a hospitalised patient refuses to allow her to be transferred to a more appropriate treatment facility, the attending doctor has no legal means other than the 166.046 process laid out in the Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA). This is the legislation that has been called the “Futile Care Law” in the past, but TRTL likes to call it the” 10 Day Rule,” now, in spite of their rejection of effort after effort, etc., to expand the time frame and increase transparency and assistance. This is the issue that led to the rebuke (.PDF) of TRTL by the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops and gleefully reported by the liberal press in Texas
The Jones family are real people, scared and hurting. Mr. Jones somehow was misled to believe the lie that “food and water” would be removed. I would have thought that at least one of the many, many lawyers at TRTL would have assured him that that is not legal under Texas law.
Instead, the Jones family’s fears – and your compassion – are being used as a means to TRTL’s political – and fundraising – ends.

And now, TRTL – in direct competition with – and with absolutely no mention of – Mrs. Jones’ family’s GoFundMe campaign – has been raising money in Mrs. Jones’ name. They state that the funds will be used for (TRTL) lawyer’s fees in addition to Mrs. Jones’ healthcare needs and that “excess” funds will go to help (TRTL’S) efforts for other patients.

I hope that TRTL’s money will also be used to pay for the very large hospital and doctor’s bills that the Jones family will receive. While there’s a chance that Texas Medicaid will pay for three months of medical bills, retroactively, Medicare doesn’t pay for hospitalizations over 90 days and has a 20% co-insurance (co-pay).

That’s bound to have added up in over 6 months.

We’ll just have to trust that TRTL won’t lie again.

Beverly B Nuckols, MD

Edit, Updated information:

One of the bloggers has told us more about that “rescue.” (Or today’s story, anyway.)

TRTL put her in a private ambulance and took her to *another ER,* one that couldn’t provide dialysis, so they then transferred her somewhere else.

There were comments about the first Hospital refusing transfer — no, refusing to be complicit with “dumping” a patient. Discharging to without ( or even with) acceptance of the transfer from the docs at the other facility is highly irregular and likely illegal.
Much has been said about funding. Yes. It appears that Medicare funding ran out, so no longer paying. 90 days per admission, with an extra 60 days over, under certain conditions.

About that Medicaid funding: I don’t know the limits of the mandatory asset tests, but the yearly income level is $60,000. One way to adapt is to spend money on medical costs.

Medicare makes it difficult to navigate the private pay process. When we had some question, we got informed consent, promise to pay, then performed the service, filed with Medicare, waited to be denied, then tried to Bill the patient. The risk is always a charge of “fraud and abuse.”

The same thing would have happened if the hospital had privately charged for Dialysis.

(5/20/19, BBN)

Life Ethics

Western classical liberal ethics has favored “deciding” that all humans are human-enough to possess human rights. 1.Are they human? 2.Can we kill them? The answers have been increasingly 1. Yes, & 2. No. That’s not #Patriarchy. It’s a good basis for a #sentient, civil society.

HatTip to a FB poster, Clint Stutts, for the questions.

False story about Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA)

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 is quoted.

TADA 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.

Have they no decency?

Now, Texas Right to Life is blatantly lying, posting an article on their website entitled “American hero slain two days before Christmas …”

“slain?”

Far down in the piece, there’s this:

“Chris passed away naturally on December 23, 2015 – two days before Christmas.”

Mr. Dunn died from his metastatic pancreas cancer, on full medical treatments. His mother, Mrs. Kelly actually thanked those who cared for him at the hospital.

Every article on TRTL’s website has a “Donate” button at the top, prioritizing money over the people whose stories they use to raise money and influence the Texas Legislature. Now, we see this completely dishonest caption.

Just what is their mission and how can we trust them?

Hurting patients and families

Facing the life-threatening illness of a loved one is hard enough, without misunderstandings. It’s cruel when people who claim to be helping don’t correct those misunderstandings.
I can’t comment on on Texas Right to Life’s (TRTL’s) recent Facebook post, where the organization is, frankly, spreading falsehoods and perpetuating misunderstandings that are bound to make a difficult process even harder.
The story about the family of Mrs. Carolyn Jones is one I’ve covered before.
I believe that the Jones family could be – should be – reassured about the care and treatment that Mrs Jones is receiving. In my post, today, I would like to further clear up some of the problems in TRTL’s reporting.
Significantly, on April 10, 2019, Mr. Jones testified to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee ( at 52 minutes into the video, near the end) that, on March 8 of this year, after 4 months’ admission, the hospital held what he says was the second ethics committee meeting. After the meeting, the family believes that the hospital informed them that Mrs. Jones needed to be transferred by March 18, or her oxygen, food and water, and dialysis would be stopped.
Why hasn’t anyone told Mr. Jones that withholding or withdrawal of even IV Artificial Administered Hydration and Nutrition (AAHN) is prohibited by the very law he believes should be repealed?
Mr. Jones testified that over the last month, his wife has since been weaned from the ventilator, only needing assistance “sometimes at night.”

I don’t understand why TRTL repeats that a ventilator tube prevents Mrs. Jones from speaking or eating. Mrs. Jones has a tracheostomy in place (the tube we see in the pictures is a feeding tube). The tracheostomy, even when a ventilator is attached, would not interfere with her ability to speak and swallow, with training.

Breathing assistance, AAHN, and dialysis can all be provided by the 3 facilities – and at least one doctor – that have agreed to accept Mrs. Jones as a patient.
TRTL is using the grief of the Jones family to solicit donations and to lobby for a Bill I’ve also written about, SB 2089, that would require “treatment until transfer.”
In this case, the treatment that is disputed is transfer from in-hospital treatment after 5 months to a lower level facility that is able and willing to provide what Mrs. Jones needs.
Comments are closed here. (I just can’t keep up with all the sites.) Please comment on my Facebook page.

End of life or end of hospital stay?

What a tragic story!

While I only know what I’ve seen online, in my experience, it appears that the dispute about Mrs. Carolyn Jones is over continued hospitalization at this hospital, versus transfer to care at another facility.

(See this television news report.)

I’m the first to say that hospitals are scary places and to sympathize with families struggling to cope with the bureaucracy and protocols. However the current news, press releases, and pro-life blogs are reporting several errors and omissions about Texas’s law and legislation up for consideration in Austin.

The obvious errors in this report include:
1. First. It’s not correct that Mrs Jones will die on Monday, even if the ventilator is turned off at the hospital. She’s not intubated through the mouth or nose. Instead, there’s a tracheostomy and a feeding tube in place. Supplemental oxygen could be provided many different ways, at home or in a nursing home.
2. Mr. Jones has testified at the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee meeting (EDIT: the video is here, at 52 minutes in) on 4/10/19 and elsewhere that Mrs Jones had been weaned off the ventilator, needing it only occasionally, at night.
2. She should be able to speak and swallow with training.
3. Texas Advance Directives Act doesn’t require that the doctor declare the treatment be “futile.” Instead, the doctor must declare that he refuses to follow a certain treatment decision that the patient or family demands .
4. Kidney dialysis is paid for by the Federal government, so the problem isn’t only funding.

In my admittedly limited knowledge about this particular case – it appears that Mr. Jones disagrees that it’s time to move from the hospital to home or nursing home, even after 5 months (not 10 days).

At least since 2005, legislation has been introduced at the State to increase the timeframe to as long as a month. Texas Right to Life refuses to agree to anything other than indefinite treatment, with the doctor forced to act against his will, violating his conscience and ignoring his medical judgement.

TRTL has even clashed with other pro-life organizations and Texas’s Catholic Bishops and “primaried” several conservative Legislators, although they are the only Texas pro-life group that opposes the law.

It would be good to add more time – I don’t know of anyone who disagrees. But there needs to be a limit to how long a doctor is forced to act against his conscience. One Bill that was rumored this year would change the “10 days” to 21 days and add a week to the notification period before the Ethics committee meets. Unfortunately, it never got past the Powers That Be.

For more on the ethics of the Texas Advance Directives Act, see this WingRight post.

The most urgent need is communication with families, correcting misunderstandings like those outlined here.

(Edited May 10, 2019 at 12:22 AST, to correct the Link to the testimony of Mr. Jones. BBN)

Emergency: Liberty Right Infringement

Texas Right to Life General Counsel Emily Cook is attacking Texas Medical Association on Facebook, even though virtually every other pro-life, medical, nursing, hospital, and disability group in Texas oppose SB 2089 by Hughes, that would change the “Texas Advance Directive Act, “TADA” will harm patients and attack the right of doctors to refuse to act against our conscience.

Here’s a partial list of organizations opposing SB 2089: Texas Medical Association, Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission Ethics, Texas Catholic Bishops, Texas Nurses Association, Texas Society for Anethesiology, Texas Osteopathic Association, Catholic Health Association, Texas Hospital Association, Baylor Scott and White, Texas Teaching Hospitals, Texas Alliance for Life, Coalition of Texans With Disabilities.
The central question isn’t “10 days” or the actions of a “Committee.” Doctors start the process, and under the law, the Committee can only affirm that his decision is medically appropriate or not.
The question is whether a patient can demand that a doctor be forced against her conscience to indefinitely write orders and provide treatment she believes is not in the best interest of the patient because the patient or family wants it?
The patient is near death and in the hospital, so the doctor can’t morally just “fire” him if there’s a disagreement. We all agree that 10 days isn’t enough time for families, and have tried since 2005 to add days to the process – we had a Bill that would expand the time to a month in 2007. (CSSB 439)
But Texas Right to Life would/will accept nothing but indefinite “treatment until transfer.” They keep demanding lawyers, courts and trials for medical decisions.
This is the issue that caused the break between TRTL and the Catholic Bishops.
It would force Drs to violate our conscience, without compromising with a set, limited time frame.

We’ve worked to fix other problems: Artificially administered food and water, even full IV feedings, can‘t be removed. Texas law didn’t even mention DNRs, but last session, we passed an amendment with explicit procedures and informed consent language.

SB 2089 ends the ability for a doctor to “refuse” medically inappropriate treatment, only allows “recommending,” (while being legally required to act against her conscience, harming the patient, prolonging death and increasing side effects, requiring more treatments.)

There’s no leeway, at all, in the new Bill.

SB 2089 specifically says anyone can file a lawsuit in any Court in the County, the Court can’t charge the patient (or surrogates) any fees, and the judge is required to rule in 5 days.

More doctors will limit the number of older or sicker patients to keep from falling under the dispute process and the Court battle.
Even tertiary hospitals – teaching hospitals and big City referral hospitals – will find that their doctors don’t want to accept patients from outlying hospitals.
It will kill tort reform, because it’s designed to get all these cases into Court.
It’s like the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, only bigger, in my opinion, because if doctors lose here, we lose the right to conscience in everything.

If you believe that even doctors have the right of Conscience, and that infringement of the right not to be forced to act against your will is wrong, please contact your Texas Senator and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and respectfully ask that SB2089 not be brought up.

You can let me know if you disagree on my Facebook page.

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