Dec. 23rd, 2005 06:05 pm
ladyjaneinlace: (pelee rising)
[personal profile] ladyjaneinlace
Young African Immigrant Woman Taken Off Respirator - While Still Conscious and Responsive

So this is what we've come to in the great state of Texas: kill people off out of "economic necessity."

(CBS11TV.com - 12/14/2005)

"It was against our will to unplug her. We never wanted that.”

Daniel Salvi and his family surrounded his sister’s bedside Monday at Baylor Regional Medical Center in Plano and watched doctors take the 27-year-old off life support.

"It didn't take long — 15 to 16 minutes,” Tirhas Habtegiris’ brother recalled.

Habtegiris had abdominal cancer that spread to her lungs. Eventually, she was on a ventilator and her cousin took care of her.

The family said doctors told them they would have to remove her from life support in 10 days. When the family disagreed, the hospital's Clinical Ethics Committee met and decided to take Habtegiris off the ventilator.

The hospital declined an on-camera interview, but in a statement said they "contacted 12 facilities including hospitals, long term acute care facilities and nursing homes, all of whom declined to accept the patient.”

Salvi believes this would not have happened if his sister had health insurance.

"If you don't have money in this country, you're nothing. You're not a human being."

But a Dallas attorney who worked on the law said money has nothing to do with it and only clinical matters are considered.

Dr. Allan Shulkin, who specializes in pulmonary and critical care medicine at another Dallas hospital, supports the law.

"Sometimes applying technology when there is no other opportunity for recovery is wrong not because it’s expensive, but because it prolong suffering," he said.

Salvi said his sister wanted to die in her mother's arms.

A hospital spokesperson the facility offered to hire an immigration attorney free of charge to help bring the woman's mother from East Africa.

Relatives, however, said the East African process was too lengthy.


[livejournal.com profile] zoethe has done a far better job commenting on this situation than I could.

If they were going to pull out her respirator, couldn't they at least have sedated her first?

Date: 2005-12-24 08:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mc-dork.livejournal.com
La salud non si paga.


Date: 2006-09-12 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shooman.livejournal.com
I randomly link up through other ppl's ljs at time... trolling around I'm ashamed to say. But still... this link made me pause. I was at first aghast and then I thought, "wait-- this is Baylor. LAWSUIT!"

So there had to be something incorrect.

Quoting from Baylor's public statement:

"A. Ms. Habtegiris was not conscious at the time of her death and was not consistently conscious after the first few hours in the hospital. The medical record reflects that she was given morphine for severe pain shortly after arriving in the Emergency Department, and she was further sedated when she required mechanical ventilation shortly after admission to the hospital. From that point forward, she was never again able to speak because of the tube in her windpipe (trachea), and she was never able to meaningfully communicate by other means because she required ongoing narcotics for pain and sedatives for anxiety and agitation. Every time the doctors or nurses tried reducing the doses of pain medicine and sedatives so they might meaningfully communicate with her, the patient showed evidence of such severe distress that clinical staff had no choice but to restore full sedation. This is not an uncommon problem in terminally ill patients on life support in the Intensive Care Unit."

Full listing as follows:

It should also be noted though:
"B. The medical record reflects that the hospital never raised payment issues with the family. As is routine for all patients without private insurance who might qualify for public assistance, the family was given contact information to apply for Medicaid. The medical record clearly reflects Medicaid would pay for the patient's hospital care. However, even if Medicaid did not step in or if the patient had a private insurance plan, the decisions of the medical staff and ethics committee would have been the same. Baylor provides millions of dollars of charitable treatment and care for indigent patients every year."

Not advertising for Baylor... but I'm not sure I doubt their public address of the matter. It's pretty likely because of SOP for hospitals and such due to lawsuit.

shooman out


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