By Kim Schwartz, Texas Right to Life
The Texas House of Representatives passed a bill Monday greatly improving protections for hospitalized patients.
Current Texas law allows hospitals to remove patients’ life-sustaining treatment against their will, but House Bill 3162 by Chairwoman Stephanie Klick (R – Fort Worth) is a significant step in returning more power to patients and families.
HB 3162 modifies several aspects of the Texas Advance Directives Act, including the deadly 10-Day Rule. The bill by Representative Klick offers more protections to patients, such as:
- Requiring the hospital to perform a procedure necessary to facilitate a transfer before the countdown may begin,
- Specifying that the process cannot be imposed on competent patients,
- Preventing decisions from being based on perceived “quality of life” judgments, and
- Giving the family more notice of the ethics committee meeting and more days to secure a transfer.
“The toll taken by the 10-Day Rule cannot be understated since its enactment in 1999. Countless families know firsthand the relief these changes would bring,” added Texas Right to Life President Dr. John Seago. Americans everywhere witnessed the horrors of Texas law when hospitals sought to take away treatment from 9-month-old Tinslee Lewis (who is now 4-years-old and home with her family), 46-year-old Chris Dunn, and 61-year-old Carolyn Jones.
Texas Right to Life and Pro-Life lawmakers like Chairwoman Klick have fought to reform or repeal the 10-Day Rule for 20 years. Representative Klick led months of negotiations this session between several advocacy groups, including Texas Right to Life. While all the major political hurdles have been cleared for this legislation, HB 3162 still must pass the Senate before the Legislature adjourns on May 29. Until then, Texas Right to Life will continue to lobby lawmakers to enact these crucial protections for vulnerable patients.