The physician practices medicine under Texas law, not the hospital or committees.
TADA lays out the process which allows the patient’s doctor to practice medicine according to his/her best medical judgement, a combination of education and experience. Otherwise, the doctor would have to indefinitely and repeatedly act against his will and conscience.
When the patient’s attending doctor in the hospital determines that a treatment demanded by the patient or his legal surrogate (in most cases, it’s a family member as also laid out in the Act) is not appropriate, the doc can’t just stop or abandon the patient.
Under the TADA, the doc notifies the patient or surrogate of his decision. If they disagree, the doc must involve the hospital ethics or medical committee.
The committee then notifies the patient/surrogate that there will be a meeting to decide whether the doctor’s decision is medically appropriate. If the committee doesn’t believe the doctor is correct, he should order the treatment. If the committee agrees that the treatment isn’t medically appropriate, the patient/surrogate is informed that the treatment will be stopped in 10 days *and* the hospital must help look for another doctor - and facility - who will agree to accept the patient.
We’ve been trying to amend the law for over 10 years, to increase the time before the committee meeting and before the treatment in dispute is stopped. We had agreed to a total of 30 days back when Patrick was a Senator and Dewhurst was still Lieutenant Governor and Perry was Governor - I think back in 2005. We keep getting blocked by the opposition, and a bunch of lawyers.
The opposition to TADA wants every single one of these disputes to go to court, where lawyers will make their arguments- sometimes with doctors as expert witnesses - and a judge would end up making the medical decisions, possibly forcing the doctor to act against his conscience.
The case in court was much more complicated than presented. The patient had metastatic pancreatic cancer that had damaged his liver so much that he stopped making clotting proteins and nearly bled to death on the day of admission, when he was transferred from another hospital. He had liver and kidney failure, he was jaundiced because the poisons from liver failure were building up in his blood and he was on a ventilator.
He was sedated in order to help him tolerate the breathing tube, was clearly no longer competent to make decisions and hadn’t named a surrogate. His (divorced) parents disagreed about keeping him on life support.
His father believed his wouldn’t want to continue on the ICU treatment and pointed out that he had refused treatment until he passed out.
His mother wanted extraordinary treatment that the doctors believed was causing him pain and suffering. She is suing the hospital although they never stopped the absolutely excellent treatment that kept him alive much longer than anyone could have expected.
No one refused to allow him to be moved to another hospital. Instead, every doctor that was contacted agreed with the attending doctor at Methodist.
Do a search on his name and read the media reports for a better understanding. I can’t follow this thread closely because I’m travelling.
Beverly B Nuckols,MD aka “hocndoc”