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Pro-Con: Who should make end-of-life care decisions?

By Keldy Ortiz
May 19, 2013 at 12:19 a.m.
Updated May 20, 2013 at 12:20 a.m.

Jeanne Hudgeons touches the face of her husband, Bill Sears,  as her sister, Jan Carlson, of Indiana, listens to his chest with a stethoscope at the couple's Port Lavaca home on April 11. Carlson, a retired nurse, flew down to Texas to help her sister when she learned Sears was nearing his death. Sears and Hudgeons, after learning that he had pancreatic cancer, discussed that he did not want to be resuscitated. Sears died at home later that day.

WHAT THE BILL SAYS

Senate Bill 303 relates to health care, medical treatment and advance directives.

The current law allows for treatment to be discontinued if physicians feel the treatment is not helpful. If what the advanced directive says or what the patient's surrogate (family) say goes against a physician's suggestions, family enter a appeal process and have 10 days to choose a new provider.

This bill extends the number of days patients and surrogates have for finding a new physician. Patients and their surrogates would also have assistance in the process.

SOURCE: Texas Legislature online

TEXAS IS GRAPPLING WITH A LIFE-OR-DEATH SITUATION.

A bill before the Legislature turns the tables from physicians, who currently make the call on whether a patient's care is medically necessary, to patients and their families, who will have a say in their loved one's life or death.

Senate Bill 303 survived a battle in the Senate in April and is now struggling to make it through the House.

As of Friday, the bill remained pending for consideration in the House and may die before the close of the 83rd Legislative Session at the end of the month.

Whether the bill survives, the debate continues over who has the final say in a person's final moment - the family or the doctor.

Advocate Reporter J.R. Ortega contributed to this story.

PRO: Doctors should give input in discussion

CON: Families find peace in honoring final wishes

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