By Kathy Ostrowski, Legislative Director. Kansans for Life
Recent posts have revealed the facts surrounding secretly placed “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) orders without parental notice or consent that resulted in the deaths of Simon Crosier and Megan Barnes. Testimonies from both families, as well as detailed testimonies from other families and supportive physicians and researchers, were submitted to the Kansas Senate Public Health and Welfare committee urging enactment of ‘Simon’s Law.’
By an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 37-3 on March 22, the Kansas Senate passed Simon’s Law to
1. insure no DNR order can be issued to a minor without consent of parents/guardians, and
2. require that a hospital/medical facility, upon patient request, disclose any ‘futility policies’ in place.
The House can take action on the bill when the Kansas legislature reconvenes April 27.
There was no opposition presented against Simon’s Law in committee. While not one medical group or facility testified at the Senate hearing, a stealth campaign to kill this bill is now being waged by lobbyists for various hospitals.
Their position is that Simon’s Law is unneeded (or even harmful!) and that reasoning was encapsulated in an unsigned March 29 editorial by the Topeka Capital Journal (TCJ), a prominent Kansas newspaper.
Neither proponents of the bill, nor Kansans for Life, were contacted by TCJ to explain the need for Simon’s Law within the current climate in which certain newborns, and children of other ages, are labeled “unworthy” of life-sustaining care.
BAD FACTS = BAD EDITORIAL
The TCJ editorial asserted that, currently, DNR “orders aren’t to be placed in a minor’s chart without full disclosure to the parent or guardian.”
However– in fact– disclosure does NOT always occur, as the cases brought to the Senate Health committee illustrate. In these instances, later verified by researchers, children lost their lives and necessary medical services, because negative value judgments were made about the children with chromosomal abnormalities.
Furthermore, “disclosing” a DNR is just stating that a DNR is being imposed; it is not seeking permission.
The TCJ editorial tries to claim the high ground by asserting Simon’s Law could “inflict unnecessary suffering upon children.” And as the final kicker, the editorial scolds –in the identical manner pro-abortionists do– that legislators are “primarily untrained in the area of medicine” and “shouldn’t play God.”
Scott Crosier, the father of Simon Crosier, for whom the Simon’s Law legislation is named, rebutted the editorial in a letter published April 9. He wrote, “Unfortunately, hospitals’ secretive futility policies do give them the ability to place DNRs [on minors] without [parental] knowledge or consent despite the rhetoric presented.”
Simon’s dad painfully experienced what the TCJ editorial seems ignorant of: that denial of life-sustaining treatment is being applied based on value judgments, specifically by those “with medical training.”
FUTILITY JUDGMENT BASED ON OPINION
Mr. Crosier wrote, “For clarification, a futility policy allows a hospital and its physicians to make any decision regarding the treatment of a patient they deem to be futile without any input from the patient or family. Bottom line is, hospitals are making business decisions when the lives of our children are at stake. Our physician’s favorite statements when Simon was in the NICU were, ‘I don’t know,’ ‘Not for Simon,’ and ‘Incompatible with life.’ Cold harsh comments to hear regularly when you are pleading with them to do everything they can to help your son.”
Mr. Crosier fundamentally disagrees that legislators need any medical training to recognize the need for Simon’s Law: “If the hospitals are not going to be completely open and transparent concerning their policies, then we clearly need our government to step in and protect our rights as parents.”
TCJ did not include this last relevant paragraph from the letter they published from Simon’s dad: “The physicians and hospitals have government protections through many federal and state laws but for some reason Simon’s Law would be a burden for them to get written consent from a parent for a DNR? This makes NO SENSE! If you want to protect your child’s human rights and your parental rights, supporting ‘Simon’s Law’ really is a no-brainer.”
Anyone with even limited experience with being hospitalized knows that the facilities and doctors do indeed insist on signed permission, often multiple times in just one stay. The hospital lobbyists really have no credible excuse for not getting written parental permission, which is presumably why they never came to a public podium to testify about Simon’s Law.
Crosier’s unpublished paragraph completely undercuts the entire TCJ editorial. Is that why it was omitted?