By Kathy Ostrowski, Legislative Director, Kansans for Life
The weather outside in the capital city of Kansas Wednesday was dreary and rainy, but a raft of sunshine could be felt under the capitol dome when the Kansas House passed Simon’s Law with a unanimous voice vote.
On Thursday, in “final action,” the individualized vote tally will be recorded. Simon’s Law, Sub SB 85, already passed the Senate 29-9-2 and it will be heading for signing to a receptive Gov. Sam Brownback.
The importance of this measure for restoring dignity to, and protection for, medically marginalized infants and children should not be understated. Testimonies in support of Simon’s Law came from numerous families whose children were treated disrespectfully and even denied life-sustaining care due to being “labeled” as “incompatible with life.”
The bill was named for Simon Crosier, whose parents have been conducting a grass roots campaign against the imposition of DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders without parental consent. His story was part of the introductory remarks given by the bill-carrier of Sub SB 95, Rep, John Whitmer (R-Wichita).
“Simon Crosier was born on September 7, 2010. On his 3rd day of life he was diagnosed with full Trisomy 18, a chromosomal disorder and his life –and sadly the quality of his medical care and treatment– changed dramatically after that diagnosis. You see, many doctors declare Trisomy 18 as “incompatible with life,” despite evidence of the contrary and of course those who survive for months, years and even decades.
Simon drew his last strained breath at 10:45am on December 3rd, 2010. Imagine watching your child take his last breaths, his oxygen saturation levels plummeting and the medical professionals doing nothing to intervene. It wasn’t until AFTER Simon’s death that his parents discovered there was a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order in his medical file which explains why the medical professionals stood around and did nothing. His parents did not know about, nor did they consent, or even discuss this with ANY of the medical personnel prior to the execution of that DNR order. Passage of Senate bill 85 would prevent any other family from having to go through what the Crosier family has had to endure.
Specifically, Senate bill 85 addresses: instituting DNRs and similar physician’s orders; petitions to enjoin; resolution of parental disagreements; required disclosures of policies by medical facilities and physicians; and existing law concerning emergency health care. Simon’s Law goes a long way toward ensuring that medically fragile children are not discriminated against because of a diagnosis.”
Kansans for Life congratulates the expert presentation and management of debate by Rep. Whitmer and was edified at the variety of legislators speaking in defense of this bill. More tomorrow.