Pro-life Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant today signed into law HB1014, which provides a concrete means for Mississippians to establish and protect their directions for the provision of life-preserving medical treatment, food, and fluids.
“HB 1014 allows us in Mississippi the ability clearly to state that we want life-saving medical measures, as well as assisted feeding, and effectively prevents their denial against our will,” said Barbara Whitehead, president of Mississippi Right to Life, who attended the bill signing ceremony.
“At a time when hospital ethics committees sometimes deny life-saving treatment to patients they assert should die because their ‘quality of life’ is too poor, HB1014 will require that such health care providers allow their patients to transfer to others willing to respect their wishes, and provide directed life-saving treatment in the meantime,” Whitehead said. “The bill also allows patients or their representatives to go to court to get injunctions against involuntary denial of life-saving medical treatment, nutrition and hydration.”
The bill, which goes into effect July 1, 2014, requires the State Board of Medical Licensure to establish a standard “physician order for sustaining treatment” form in accordance with specific directions in the legislation and in consultation with Mississippi Right to Life, Disability Rights Mississippi, the bar association, and medical groups. Adults capable of making health care decisions may sign the form; when a patient is incapable of making health care decisions, it may be signed on his or her behalf by the individual’s health care agent, guardian, or legally established surrogate.
In its final form, HB 1014 passed the Senate 51 to 0 and the House 122 to 0.