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McClellan: Twisting the Facts About 1999 Law

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"McClellan: Twisting the Facts About 1999 Law"

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At the gaggle this morning, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan defended a law Bush signed as governor of Texas in 1999:

The legislation he signed is consistent with his views. You know, this is a complex case and I don’t think such uninformed accusations offer any constructive ways to address this matter…[P]rior to the passage of the ’99 legislation that he signed, there were no protections…The legislation was there to help ensure that actions were being taken that were in accordance with the wishes of the patient or the patient’s family.

McClellan’s statement grossly distorts the nature of the law. The law does not ensure that actions are taken “in accordance with the wishes of the patient or the patient’s family.” In fact it codifies and legalizes the ability of doctors to stop treatment even if it goes against the explicit directive of the patient or the patient’s family.

Check out Section 166.046, Subsection (e):

If the patient or the person responsible for the health care decisions of the patient is requesting life-sustaining treatment that the attending physician has decided and the review process has affirmed is inappropriate treatment, the patient shall be given available life-sustaining treatment pending transfer under Subsection (d). The patient is responsible for any costs incurred in transferring the patient to another facility. The physician and the health care facility are not obligated to provide life-sustaining treatment after the 10th day after the written decision required under Subsection (b) is provided to the patient or the person responsible for the health care decisions of the patient

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