Association of American Physicians and Surgeons Urges Patients to Oppose Texas End-of-Life Bill

TUCSON, Ariz., May 9, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Texas Senate passed a bill, now pending in the House (SB 303), that would revise the state's end-of-life procedure. The bill is strongly opposed by nearly all pro-life groups, but is being pushed by the powerful, government-funded hospital industry, according to an alert that the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) sent to its members.

AAPS writes: "The bill would give hospitals nearly unlimited power to end the lives of patients in their facilities and would create, for the first time, a right of a hospital to insert a 'do not attempt resuscitation' [DNAR] order into the medical file without the knowledge or consent of the patient or family. SB 303 was written in an extremely one-sided manner to benefit hospitals, to the detriment of patients."

In this bill, "life-sustaining treatment" includes food and water, states AAPS executive director Jane M. Orient, M.D. "Our members tell us of shocking instances in which hospitals hasten the death of patients, as by oversedation and dehydration, even of some who might recover with reasonable treatment."

"Patients need the right to an independent second opinion from a physician who is not subject to hospital retaliation," she added, but they will not have this under SB 303.

The bill provides limited appeals rights to patients and their families, but a hospital-controlled ethics committee would have the final authority. The bill extends sweeping immunity from accountability to hospitals, according to the AAPS alert.

"Patients, not hospitals, are the ones who should be protected by legislation," AAPS concludes.

The House will hold a hearing on the bill on Monday, May 13.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), which was founded in 1943, is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties. AAPS defends the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship.


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