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No one here can forget the spectacle made over the death of Terri Schiavo, whose brain had died long, long ago.  But in Texas, the law George W. Bush signed as governor allows doctors to inform the family that further treatment is hopeless (and costly) and Pull the Plug.  Literally.

In the latest case to escape the Culture of Life warriors, Tirhas Habtegiris, a young woman and legal immigrant from Africa, was CONSCIOUS and responsive when removed from a respirator and allowed to die.

Let me rephrase that:  She was killed by doctors who removed the ventilator keeping her alive. And this action was fully legal under Bush's "economic considerations" law. Her body was ravaged by cancer, but she was alert. She was responsive.


"They handed me this letter on December 1st. and they said, we're going to give you 10 days so on the 11th day, we're going to pull it out," said her brother Daniel Salvi.

Salvi was stunned to get this hand-delivered notice invoking a complicated and rarely used Texas law where a doctor is "not obligated to continue" medical treatment ....

She wasn't white. Politicians did not speculate on her diagnosis via video tape.  Conservative religious zealots did not picket the hospital.  She didn't have insurance. Ventilator treatment is expensive. Baylor did not want to incur any more expenses. So they removed a conscious woman from a respirator.

THIS is the true face of "compassionate conservatism" and of the phony "culture of life".  They don't give a rat's ass, as long as the insurance will pay the bill. No insurance? Good-bye, you die.

...Tirhas still responded and was conscious. She was waiting one person.

"She wanted to get her mom over here or to get to her mom so she could die in her mom's arms," says her cousin Meri Tesfay.

Ten days was not enough time, they say, to get a mother from Africa to America.

The family and hospital desperately tried to get Tirhas moved to a nursing home but they say no one would take her.

"A fund issue is what I understand. Because she is not insured and that was the major reason the way I understood it," Salvi said.

A statement from Baylor Plano disputes that and says the hospital did its best to comply with the family's wishes in every way.

Still, on the 11th day, Tirhas Habtegiris was taken off the respirator and died.

A dying person's last request: To die with her mother by her side. Yet, "economic considerations" are more important in Texas than compassion. Without insurance, you are literally condemned to death if you need expensive treatment.


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

After the fact, the hospital claims they were willing to help bring the mother from Africa, but the family here in Dallas says they were told time had run out.  Yes, the hospital was willing to help, but only within 10 days. Otherwise... the bill.

Tirhas Habtegiris would not have recovered from her cancer. There is no dispute of that. But... just to see her mother one more time.  That was all she asked. And the hospital allowed 10 days before treatment was discontinued.

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.

Can you imagine what it must be like to know you are dying for 15 minutes? Every time some wing-nut Republican politician trots out the phrase "culture of life", remember Tirhas Habtegiris.  Reflect on a conscious person knowing that life-giving air was being cut off.

Sit quietly for 15 minutes and contemplate how hopeless and horrifying that must feel. Recall the abject hypocrisy of Schiavo: Bush rushed back to Washington (more than he did for New Orleans) to sign the Schiavo Federal Court review legislation.  But, Tirhas Habtegiris died quietly, died for 15 minutes, without anyone knowing, without politicians manipulating her life and death, never uncared about within the phony "culture of life."

And she died without seeing her mother one last time.

Originally posted to YucatanMan on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 12:19 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Michael Schiavo (4.00)
    has said he will be speaking out against the Republicans who did so much to hurt his family during such a difficult time. I hope he hears of this young woman because no one else can make the point so well that the compassion of these conservatives is reserved for their wealth and power, and hateful towards everyone else.

    Thank you for the diary, even though I'm just heartsick.

    •  he started a PAC (4.00)
      TerriPAC ... I didn't see a contact though.

      "There is no limit to what you can do if you have the power to change the rules." via Josh Marshall

      by grollen on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 01:31:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And Keep It In the Public Eye (4.00)
      THIS is the true face of today's Republican Party.

      It costs us nothing - in fact it is a net gain for civilized society - for us to extend the gift of a last embrace.

      For me, as a Catholic, it is a religious obligation.

      For me, as a citizen, it is a political expression.

      For me, as a liberal, it is what I live and breathe.

      For me, as an American, it is our dream, to live fully in the love and reflection of our lives and our families.

      For me, it is my nightmare - exile to Busherica.

  •  That is Awful (4.00)
    I guess the culture of "life" only works if you are white and/or rich.

    There are bagels in the fridge

    by Sychotic1 on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 12:49:59 PM PST

    •  They also.,.. (4.00)
      ...adhere to the saying "Love the fetus, not the child".

      This is what they know. This is what they are.

    •  Just sent this e-mail (3.96)
      to my conservative baptist pro-bush mother-in-law.

      This one HAS to get sent anyone who supported the whole Schiavo mess. It could be argued that Schiavo, with literally a fist-sized hole in her brain, died YEARS ago. Nothing was left of Terri but a heartbeat by the time she became a cause. Her death, years ago, was a tragedy. Her cause, just recently, made a joke of government's role in our lives.

      But this is different. No evasion, no gray area about when life ends. Plain fact: Bush's law killed this conscious, alert, responsive woman because she didn't have the funds to stay on her respirator in Texas.

      Any other state in the US, any other western country, she would have been allowed to live and be with her family until her cancer took her life, but they unplugged her to save a few bucks, and let her die (MADE her die) before her mother could come to her bedside from Africa.

      Compared to the woman in florida with a fist-sized hole in her brain, this isn't a tragedy, this is a horrifying injustice that makes me wonder if there's an ounce of morality or caring in the man who made the law that let it be possible. Culture of life, my ass. George W Bush is a false Christian who uses people of faith and whose every decision is based on avarice and the advancement of his crony capitalism, and I hope he burns hot in hell someday.

      Read these links and tell me you're not outraged.

    •  The Real Cure (4.00)
      How appalling.

      This is just another tragic example for why we need a National Health Care System - so people can not only live when possible - but so they can die with dignity when terminal.

      I would like to see the ACLU challenge the Texas law in court, all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. In a county full of so called moralists - this act was not moral.

  •  Just awful (4.00)
    You know, one of the big objections from the right against removal of the Schiavo feeding tube was that Terry might get better, or that she'd suffer terrible agony starving to death.  Who's to say Ms. Habtegiris wouldn't have had some miracle recovery?  Just because one woman's care was paid for and the others wasn't it's supposed to be okay to pull the plug?  To me, waiting 15 minutes knowing you're going to die is cruel and unusual punishment.
    •  For conservatives (4.00)
      It makes sense. I came to the conclusion that conservatives worship Money. Why else push for tax breaks, corporate communism, and "free trade"? Hell, they're morals are based on income!

      A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

      by Tux on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 01:05:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're right. They do. (4.00)

        It's all about the money.  Smaller government, tax breaks, pay full price for your own tuition, health insurance and retirement--you name it, it has $$$$$ at its core.  Add public education to that list.

        "I got mine, you get your own. Now move outa my sight."

      •  Ironic, isn't it? (4.00)
        They talk about the Bible and Jesus, but they've clearly never read the Bible or paid any attention to Jesus. All that self-righteous talk, and they ignore the warnings against worship of false gods.

        Thwarting the forces of conservatism since 1978. -7.63, -5.64

        by wiscmass on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 02:07:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  MoneyMoneyMoney, MONEY. (none)
          1st Timothy 6:10
          "For the love of money is the root of all evil..."
        •  Calvinsim (4.00)
          meets Capitalism.  If you are rich, it because you are a better person than the average working joe. You deserve to be rewarded for your virtue of being rich.  If you are poor it because you are lazy or stupid, or undeserving in some other way.  If you take this in the "Survival of the Richest" frame of mind, it makes perfect sense.  The woman was poor, and therefore undeserving and worthless.  If you measure all of human worth and value in terms of dollars, that is the equation you end up with.

          If not for the cat,
          And the scarcity of cheese
          I could be content.
          --Jack Prelutsky

          by Reepicheep on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 08:17:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Even if you DO, it's wrong (none)
            because you're supposed to be COMPASSIONATE. You're supposed to care for your fellow man.

            Jesus didn't care for the rich. He hung out with tax collectors, fishermen, and prostitutes. He preached to the POOR. Mostly because the RICH didn't want to hear him.

            Who, 2000 years later, are STILL ignoring him.

        •  Baylor hospital facilities... (none)
          are affiliated with Baylor University in Waco, probably the largest Baptist university in the world.  Something is missing here.  Christian compassion, maybe?

          The further we look into the past, the further we see into the future...

          by tomathawl on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 07:19:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Well, power, too - (4.00)
        Then again, money represents, or is a way to exert, power.

        Sadly ironic, isn't it - the party that ostensibly represents the interests of Christians in this country is led by the money-changers...

    •  details: conscious and communicative? (4.00)
      First of all, death by lack of oxygen is like death by drowning; terribly painful and desperate unless the person is substantially sedated.  Basically you suffocate slowly.  In her case, for fifteen minutes.  

      Key questions here:  How did the family members know she was conscious and communicative?  Could she speak?  Could she signal using facial or hand gestures?  If there was any question about her responses, was an EEG done to determine if her brain was in a condition known to be consistent with being conscious and communicative?   And if an EEG was not done, that by itself could constitute criminal negligence and malpractice.  

      What I'm looking for here is whether the hospital would have had any basis for claiming that she was not conscious at the time they removed the breathing support.  As an extreme example, if she was able to say or write on a piece of paper, "Don't kill me!", then there is no question she was conscious etc., and the hospital would have no basis to argue otherwise.  Any evidence of conscious communication is relevant; the more unequivocal, the easier to make the case.  

      To me this looks like criminally negligent homicide; any attorneys here please comment.   And if I'm not mistaken, the homicide laws would take precedence unless there was some really screwy wording in the "pull the plug" law that created a specific exemption.  And that exemption in turn could be challenged as per next paragraphs.  

      It would appear obvious that the Texas law could be challenged on the basis that it denies conscious patients their constitutional right to life.  There is no question that a patient on a respirator fits the legal definition of "person."  (The entire premise of anti-abortion activism is to extend the definition of "person" to cover early-term fetuses from the moment of "conception.")

      It would also appear that any Federal homicide statute would take precedence over a state law that attempted to carve out an exemption of this type.  And here we also have interstate commerce issues that provides clear jurisdiction: the ventilator itself came in via interstate commerce (unless it was manufactured wholly within Texas; highly unlikely), the patient herself came from Africa which means she originally got to Texas via interstate commerce i.e. an airline.  And if the hospital itself has any operations outside of Texas, it too is covered by interstate commerce.  Once you establish federal jurisdiction, the rest follows.  

      Last but not least, if there is Federal malpractice law, it takes precedence over state law.  

      Re. the comments that conservatives care only about money: depends on which conservatives you're talking about.  Here's one oldschool conservative who is bloody pissed about this law, this hospital, and this particular murder.  Prejudicial broad-brush remarks don't help a damn thing.  

      I'll tell you what I suspect is also at work here: a sub-rosa anti abortion agenda having to do with the right to life issue for legal persons, and the definition of murder being expanded to the removal of the fetus from the life support of the mother's womb.  So whatever is done to challenge the Texas law, should be done quite carefully to avoid handing the anti abortion crowd a tool they can use later.  The choice shouldn't be between the evil of state-sanctioned murder of conscious patients, vs. the evil of using a precedent in that area to attempt to declare personhood for fetuses.  

      This woman's family should get hold of ACLU or whoever, and immediately throw a civil suit at the hospital, charging wrongful death and malpractice.  And/or they should try to get the Feds involved in a criminal prosecution for negligent homicide.  

      I'm not a lawyer; any lawyers here please comment on this stuff.

      The evil of this sort of thing is so enormous it's difficult to find words for it.  

      •  Good question--unplugging my Mother (none)
        That's the key question. If she was able to respond, and how much. There is a scale of responsiveness called the Glasgow Coma Score that first responders carry. If she had a score above 9, equivalent to a moderate head injury, it may be considered homicide. If she had a score of 12 or above, definitely.

        A little over 21 years ago, my three sisters, my father and I watched my mother officially die. She had suffered a massive stroke and had a flat EKG, so there was no response. A zero on Glasgow. It still hurt, both then and now. But, like Schiavo, no brain, no life.

        The key to me would be the question of does she open her eyes to verbal stimuli, command, or speech.

        "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

        by bewert on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 03:04:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  EEG, not EKG (none)
          Sorry to hear about your mom; though as you know, she already wasn't there at the moment her heart stopped.  

          Question is, was this patient (the one who was killed in Texas) assessed using the Glasgow scale?  And if not, could that point be used to go after the hospital further, or would they be able to claim an excuse?  

          By the way, technical detail item:

          EEG is electro_encephalo_gram, which measures brain activity.

          EKG is electro_cardio_gram (the "K" substitutes for the "C" in the abbreviation, for whatever reason), which measures heart activity.

          I'm not trying to be picky but it's important to clarify this and it's a common mistake.  

          •  Not all states have the same laws (4.00)
            regarding the withdraw of life support. Texas has on of the worst that I ever heard of!  This is not new, last spring a 13 year old boy was also withdrawn against the faimlies wishes.  It appears that the State has given the authority to the Hospital & physicians to decide.

            Legally, it is not murder. If proper peer review or an ethic review was not could be neglegent homicide. I'm not a layer, but a Nurse for 20 years. I've work ICU and have done Hospice for many years. I live close to Tampa, where the Schiavo fiasco happened.

            In many states (including PA & FL) a physicain can remove life support without a court order. But I've only seen it done once without family consent or knowledge. Most of the time it is only done after family is consulted. If they refuse, that a custody hearing can be done to withdraw care. Again very rare.  But this is the second case in Texas in 8 months!

            You are right about the "culture of life". It's only propoganda for those who are clueless to what LAW, MEDICINE and even the CONSTITUTION really is. It's a sham.

            Again not all states have the same laws to determine "brain death". The HARVARD criteria was a practice standard for many years, then "LIVE DONORS" made a few exceptions, like a natural heart beat but flat EEG. Now Texas..I'd like to know would they harvest the organs too?

            Terri Schaivo's case wasn't comparitable here....the state wanted to keep here alive....Texas wants to kill'em.  

            The financial aspect of "end of life care" is not new, Oregon has one of the most liberal systems in terminating care. Death after the withdraw of a ventalator is in most cases peaceful and painless. Most are given valium and morphine to keep them calm. As the become hypoxic (lack of O2) they fall asleep or become confussed, unaware that they are dying. This is a "NATURAL" way to die. But God gave us doctors and nurses to help eleviate suffering, what they did appears to be against standard of practice or ethics. I'd fight to bring them before the medical board of Texas.

            "Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance (liberally)" Jude 2 Brother of Jesus

            by pinkpanther on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 04:32:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Doctors are covered (none)
              in that the statute grants them an exemption from criminal liability in most cases.  No MD is going to be wearing silver bracelets for doing this.

              We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

              by Mary Julia on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 08:52:02 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Texas also killed a baby (4.00)
              4 month old Sun Hudson, against the mother's wishes. Hudson was black and the mother poor.

              Killed is a strong term, he would have died soon. Sun had already outlived most infants with his disorder. So perhaps I could say he was removed from costly equipment by the hospital, empowered by the Texas Futile Care Law.

              Good God.

              •  That's unfair (none)
                and a misrepresentation.  Sun Hudson had a fatal genetic defect that his mother was in denial over, the same sort of denial that Schiavo's parents were in.

                The law itself does have some merits, in a situation where the patient is persistently vegetative with no hope of recovery (ironicaly, had Schaivo been in Texas, her husband would have been better protected legally to unplug her).  There should, at some point, be an economic consideration as to how much it costs to support a family's delusion that a loved one will recover.  However it should be applied fairly to all patients, whether they have the means to pay or not.

                What happened in this situation (as diaried) was a gross misapplication of the law, and Baylor should be strung up by the balls because of it.  The lesson here is that a poorly written law is a two-edged sword, and what needs to be changed is the language so as to narrow it's scope.

                •  You didn't like (none)
                  my "removed from costly equipment by the hospital, empowered by the Texas Futile Care Law."?

                  I felt fair enough. I said he'd already outlived most with his disorder, that infers fatality.

                  I looked up his disorder at the time. I read a very moving account by a mom who loved her child with it while he lived and remained alert and responsive for some time into infancy. He was on a breathing machine too. There was love and recognition.

                  I don't know if Sun was in a vegetative state. I read that he was not. I don't know if he was suffering. I know he was going to die no matter what. I don't know if it had to be that soon.

                  The mother was not balanced, we wouldn't want to rely on just her judgment. But if that baby was not in pain and was aware...the fact that he would die was not enough reason to make him die then.

                  •  Flip your argument then (none)
                    Does the fact that we have the technology to keep such a baby alive long after he would have died through natural processes enough reason to leave him plugged in?  The Hudson baby had an unalterable fatal condition resulting from genetic defect that would have killed him much sooner naturally had humans not intervened.  He had zero chance of viability without intervention.  From your argument I am inferring that you would prefer to leave him on machines, delaying the inevitable, because he can open his eyes and coo?

                    I can't help but find that as both selfish and inhumane.

                    The thing about these cases is that there is not one single rule that will adequately address all of them, they have to be considered case by case.  My dispute with your original assertion was that the law was bad because of the Hudson situation; but I look at that case, and see an instance when the law was applied properly.

                    I do not believe it was applied properly as outlined in the case of this diary, but I am cognizant that all diaries are presented with an inherent bias meant to sway the reader to a specific side of the argument and there are most likely details of this case we do not, and will never, know.  So my reaction may change if and when more facts are made public.  But on the surface, this specific situation provokes outrage.

                    And btw, I never said the Hudson baby was vegetative, I was referring to other hypothetical cases where the patient may be in a vegetative state.

          •  The EKG was designed in Germany. (none)
            EKG is electro_cardio_gram (the "K" substitutes for the "C" in the abbreviation, for whatever reason), which measures heart activity.

            It's because the word was originally German. Elektrokardiogramm

            2005 was only the beginning.
            Enough Is Enough 2006! It's time for truth.
            Econ: -4.63 Soc: -6.92

            by MamasGun on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 05:32:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I thought it was because (none)
              The "k" sound doesn't rhyme with the "E" sound, and they wanted something that would prevent doctors' illegible pronunciation from causing confusion.

              Of course, I came up with that myself, so I yield.

              Jumping on the bandwagon: (-3.63, -3.03) - Does that make me part of the right wing here?

              by someone else on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 07:35:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Yes Amen to that (none)
        Thank heavens in PA, the doctor attending to my mother when she went into respiratory and cardiac arrest said he was required to do everything humanely possible to save her life unless the next of kin or the patient had specified otherwise.

        America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand-Harry S. Truman

        by wishingwell on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 03:53:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Right to Life? (none)
        There is no constitutionally-guaranteed right to life.  There is, however, a right to due process of law before deprivation of life.  I don't know the case well enough to say whether the Texas law, and the hospital's exercise of that law, violated this right, but my first impression is that it did.
        •  Right to Life (none)
          There is a constitutionally guaranteed right to life, liberty and property, all guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence, which is just as much a part of our organic law as the Constitution.  Without a right to life, there is no due process protection for life, as process is required before interfering with or limiting a right or privelege, but for activity that does not trespass on a right or privelege.

          Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

          by StrayCat on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 06:50:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Any lawyer want to explain? (none)
            I'm not a lawyer, so I may have this wrong, but as far as I know the Declaration of Independance is NOT part of the legal structure of this country. It certainly is not part of the Constitution. While a splendid statement of the general principles and specific grievances that propelled the Revolution, it doesn't have any legal weight.

            The Bill of Rights is part of the Constitution, as are all the subsequent amendments.

            •  Declaration as organic law (none)
              as well as the priveleges and immunities clause of the 14th Amendment guarantee the right to life, liberty and property, and none of the can be invaded except for legal cause (e.g. commission of a crime) and requires due process to demonstrate the cause for invading the right.  This is a right to be free of governmental action as well as a right to recompense for the invasions by private actors i.e tortfeasors, who are private preople who invade those rights, either intentionally or carelessly.  These rights were imported from the English common law as informed by Locke, Burke, et als.  The statements of ther Declaration of Independence is, at the very least, evidence of the existence of and priority of those rights.

              Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

              by StrayCat on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 03:00:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  The money to pay for her care (4.00)
      Just because one woman's care was paid for and the others wasn't it's supposed to be okay to pull the plug?

      had disappeared quite some time before she became an unwitting poster girl for the religious right. As I recall her care was being paid for by medicaid, at least that's what I read in a newspaper report during the debacle. I mentioned this a couple of times here because the powers that be in DC and particularly conservatives have a long existing policy of reducing inflation in health care costs by tossing people off medicaid. Indeed, states like Mississippi have tossed tens of thousands off medicaid and I believe they're doing to in Florida too. Compassionate conservatives counsel 'personal responsibility' and claim they're throwing elderly and disabled people off medicaid to reduce fraud. Which, considering Frist's problems (and so much else involving so many other politicians and their apologists) is pretty ironic.
      We're now pretty much at the point where we're killing the poor and disabled by denial of medical care and other necessities like, well, housing. Let's force the public to pay for more golf courses and sports stadia and force through some tax cuts for the rich. There's a solution.
      You know, the response to Katrina wasn't an anomaly; it was, for these guys, an opportunity.

      "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

      by colleen on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 02:42:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here is PA (none)
        and many states, they have to treat the patient despite their ability to pay. Our problem here in PA is that they make your life hell for payment after you either recover or on your loved ones if you die.  Or they want the person in a Nursing home fast and because of our high senior population, there are tons of them and most are underfunded and overcrowded.

        America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand-Harry S. Truman

        by wishingwell on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 03:55:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here's what I don't get (none)
          This patient was obviously eligible for Medicaid, which would cover her treatment.  Undocumented women in Texas give birth all the time in Texas, and the care is funded by Medicaid.

          I read the infamous Texas law (we heard about it awhile ago). It does state the procedure to be followed, and it looks like they followed the procedure, which, of course, is grotesque.  You can get an extension from a court, when the ten days have ended, and no other health care provider will take the patient, but you only get the extension if there is a reasonable belief that another provider will be found. The ONLY group of patients exempted is (Guess?) pregnant women.

          And does insurance figure in? Of course.  How many providers would take her knowing she is terminal and uninsured? None.  And that's exactly what happened.

          If you are looking for the law, you will find it here.

          We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

          by Mary Julia on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 08:48:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  and (none)
          they've just increased the amount of time required between transfer of property and nursing home care. Nice, huh? That's Ed - corporate Dem - for you.
      •  Don't forget along those same lines (none)
        that under the receint SCOTUS ruling, if you have property but are using it for something unworthy, say lower priced housing, etc., local entities can use eminent domain to take it away so it can be given to private devlopers for more productive purposes, like a shopping mall or upscale luxury apartments.

        That was one ruling that left me considering how I ended up siding with the conservative members of the court>  After considerations,no we were right on that one.

  •  Disgusting (4.00)
    and totally hypocritcal.
  •  Wow. Just, Wow. (4.00)
    I wrote a couple of posts on another website about how the Texas law would allow the hospital to pull the plug against the expressed wishes of the patient, but even I never thought anyone would do it. Words fail me.
    •  Please provide a link to your other info! (none)
      I have had a hell day at work, but I had to put this story out. Haven't had time to research more information/articles on the Texas law, other than what I read and recall from the Terri Schiavo case.
      •  asdf (4.00)
        It was just a quick post or two under my other alias "Random" over at the JREF message Boards:

        Originally posted by merphie
        "They also had something on a law Bush passed while in Texas. It allows the doctors to override the family's choice on plug or unplug.  "

        Not just the family's choice. It also allows doctors to pull the plug against the clearly expressed wishes of a concious and alert patient who is begging to be allowed to live.

        Here is the statute in question. The magic phrase is buried under subsection 166.046, Subsection (e):

        (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 unless ordered to do so under Subsection (g).  


        •  There is the hospital/doctor's out (none)
          but also, unwittingly, provides the opportunity for those people to reveal their true selves.  The phrase is of course:

           the health care facility is not OBLIGATED to provide lefe-sustaining treatment.

          They don't HAVE to provide treatment.  But they aren't prevented from doing so.  Clearly here you have shifted the entire argument over to not just $ and cents (let's face it, there is some need to look at that issue in general), it's focused on the patient's ability to pay, period.

  •  Fucking hyporcrites (4.00)
    Most of those "pro-life" people favor this, the Iraq war, the death penalty, and women dying of pregnancy complications. They're not pro-life at all.
  •  yeah, and fat chance (4.00)
    that anyone in the MSM will cover this.
    (maybe if we recommend...)
  •  terrible (4.00)
    She wasn't white. . . . She didn't have insurance.
    That about sums it up, doesn't it.

    We need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

    by astraea on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 01:35:40 PM PST

  •  Ouch (4.00)
    It's literally physically painful to think about this actually happening in this century.
  •  And dying with dignity is wrong? (4.00)
    Where was Tirhas Habtegiris' dignity? What medical ethicist decided that to deprive her of oxygen was the way to honor her life? I realize she wanted to wait for her mother, but at the very least, I hope she was offered the choice of a medication to speed the process, rather than wait fifteen minutes. Hate me for saying it, but Tookie Williams died more easily.
    •  How could we hate you for saying it? (4.00)
      It's the truth, painful though it may be. And I would rather hear painful truths than soothing falsehoods -- I get enough of that from BushCo.

      Thwarting the forces of conservatism since 1978. -7.63, -5.64

      by wiscmass on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 02:08:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Articficial Resparation (none)
    If family members and friends all started taking turns giving her AR 24-hours a day to keep her alive long enough to see her mother, I bet the media would notice. Perhaps they would have been too embarassed to pull the plug.
    •  I thought of this too... (none)
      ...but then I also realized that even with manual respiration, she might also need supplemental oxygen (which, in theory, could still be done), but she might also need something called PEEP (positive end-expiratory pressure), which basically a constant internal pressure applied to the lung to help "keep open" alveoli (the grape-like areas of the lung where oxygen transfer occurs) that would otherwise collapse after a breathing cycle due to either accumulation of fluid or damage to supportive tissue.

      Sorry, that's a long sentence.  In essence, the patient would need something that no amount of manual respiration could provide, only a mechanical ventilator could do that.

      People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

      by viget on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 03:52:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My friend has sleep apnea (none)
        and has a machine that does something similar.

        I think you can buy a new machine for around $500.

        Would such a machine have kept the patient alive?

        •  There's some talk that it might... (none)
          ...interestingly enough, this is coming out in the bird flu emergency mitigation literature.  As you might have already surmised from other comments in this diary, the number of ventilators in this country, and even more importantly, their allocation, is scandously poor.  In the event of a pandemic and a surge in critical patient population, there just aren't enough vents to go around.  Now, theoretically, as we've discussed here, one could try manual ventilation with a rotating schedule to prevent operator fatigue, but again you've got the PEEP problem, especially in patients with severely damaged lungs from ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) which is predicted to happen with serious avian flu.

          Supposedly, there have been some studies that sugest that CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), which is what your friend uses and of which we have many, many more units available than ventilators, might do as a "poor-man's" PEEP, but we don't know how effective it really is.

          And there's still the problem of monitoring patients, you need to know what the patient's arterial oxygen content is to properly adjust your vent settings.  While this is a relatively simple test to do, if the automated lab machines are swamped with multiple requests, again, you've got a resource bottleneck.

          People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

          by viget on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 09:41:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oops... (none)
            ...I just realized that my use of the "poor-man's" phrase might come off as offensive given the context of the discussion. I apologize in advance. I didn't mean it that way, I meant it the "ad hoc" sense, i.e. as a somewhat effective substitute, but by no means ideal.

            People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

            by viget on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 09:44:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Law or no law... (none)
    ...this is pure malpractice.

    "...the big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart." -- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

    by Roddy McCorley on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 01:43:51 PM PST

  •  Baylor - Plano (4.00)
    is owned and controlled by the Southern Baptists.
    Never, never get between the Baptists and money.
    •  No, (none)
      Baylor-Plano and all the other Baylor hospitals are NOT owned and controlled by the Southern Baptists.  Please look up the history.  They were affiliated before WWII, when the Baylor medical school was in Dallas.  They moved the school to Houston shortly after WWII and the ties to Baylor University - controlled by Southern Baptists - were severed.
  •  My PCP (4.00)
    recently moved from Dallas to Baylor Plano.  I'll be taking my business elsewhere.
  •  Is this a way around assisted suicide laws (4.00)
    Could terminally ill patients transfer to Texas hospitals and then simply stop paying the bills?

    The greater question is; How can the government prevent death with dignity requests yet allow executions be performed by hospitals?

    •  brilliant idea! (none)

      Bush is on record against assisted suicide.  

      All you need is one patient who deliberately does what you suggested and the results should be very interesting.

      Though, if the patient announces his/her intention before going in, it's possible the hospital would refuse admission.  And if the patient announces it after going in, the hospital could attempt to discharge the patient for having made a false claim before admission.  

      So this is an area that needs lawyer input as well.  

    •  They can prevent it (none)
      because they don't want you to have the choice. This administration and its ilk are all against personal freedoms.

      Nobody likes big government until they need something. -5.88, -6.82

      by Debby on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 09:10:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is not the first time (4.00)
    I recall this happening to an African-American baby right about the same time as Terry Schiavo's case was raging on.  The local media here in Texas picked up on it and presented it as a case of hypocracy that the Republicans would ignore the family that actually wanted to keep a child alive who was more alive than Terry Schiavo was.
  •  At least Kavokian administered pain killers. (4.00)
    Nothing gets my blood boiling more than the right to die if you choose and the right to live if you choose - even if it is expensive - screw the bean counters.  Hyppocratic oath my ass.  

    Tom DeLay et al are essentially saying, "You're not going to die unless I say so.  But if I say so you're history"  

    Terri Schiavo's family had the money to pay their bills at the nursing home.  Do you think Bill Frist was trying to keep her around just because she was a paying customer - his industry couldn't part with the monthly check they got from her?  Are the lobbyists at nursing homes thinking that if people had the right to die then they would lose a whole sector of their cash flow?  

    This hypocrisy and the emphasis on cash over life is all too disgusting to fathom.

  •  culture of life...bull (4.00)
    I've been giving this a lot of thought recently. It's becoming very clear that Bush's "culture of life" is every bit as much psychobabble as anything else he says. This M-F loves death. He killed more people as governor than anyone. He loves the fact that a hundred thousand Iraqis are dead. He loves the fact that over 2100 Americans have died in Iraq. He loves the fact that 1100 people died in Katrina. He loves death.
    George, Dick, Rummy,Condoleeza, Negroponte, Gonzales....these M-Fs love death. They can't get enough of it.
  •  better to error on the side of life (none)
    I think this could be (could have been) used for Tookie Williams, and later as a way of nuteralizing Repub spin that they are somehow more moral, et cetera... than the left.  

    Good diary, rec'ded.

  •  Actually, (none)
    Republican politics have taken another life.
  •  Baylor Plano website/phone number and snark (4.00)
    Irony / Articles from the Baylor Plano website:

    "Exellence in Patient Care" and "For Women For Life"


    Operator/Main Phone -
    (214) 820-0111

    Coustomer Helpline -
    (214) 818-7378
    * note - their spelling, not mine - sure looks like the combination of cost and customer

  •  They suck. (4.00)
    From the top to the bottom, from the first to the last.  From the governor to the legislature to the hospital to the little guy who did the dirty work.

    They suck.

    Not very erudite, not very poetic, but just plain truth.

    Once again.

    They suck.

    -8.75;-5.28. But it don't mean nuttin if you don't put your money where your mouth is

    by ultrageek on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 02:05:46 PM PST

  •  Is there a link (4.00)
    to the text of the law?  I want to send this to some of my aquaintances in wingnuttia with full documention of when the law was signed.

    Yeah, I'm trying out this blogging thing, too.

    by MLDB on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 02:05:52 PM PST

    •  You wanted a link (4.00)
      Follow  this link, Texas Futile Care Law, to my fine state of Texas legal statutes.  This bill was passed in 1999 and signed by Gov. Bush.  It shameful sometimes to admit being a Texan.

      This is not the first time it has been invoked.  Read here, HealthLawProf Blog, to find out how babies can also benefit from GW's compassion.  Once you can breath your on your own.

    •  LINK to Texas Advanced Directives Act (4.00)
      Texas Statutes, Health and Safety Code, Chapter 166, also known as Advance Directives Act.

      The relevant part is from § 166.046.  PROCEDURE IF NOT EFFECTUATING A DIRECTIVE[0] OR
      and it reads in part:

      (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 unless ordered to do so under Subsection (g).


      Please note that the ten-day requirement was insisted upon by the so-called prolifers because before it there was no formal requirement for a waiting period before life support was terminated.

      IN OTHER WORDS, while it is true that the Repubs and Bush are ears-deep into hypocrisy by wailing about Terry Schiavo yet knowing that even hospital-sanctioned terminating of life, even against the patient's conscious wishes, even in Texas, was legal, the hypocrisy is NOT in the fact that in 1999 Bush signed the ten-day notice requirement into law.

      The 1999 Bush law on this issue allegedly was an improvement upon the lack of requirement for notice; the improvement was insisted on by so-called prolifer groups. These groups did not like a 1997 proposed law (Texas Senate Bill 414) that did not have a formal requirement for a notice of termination of life support and made Bush to veto it for that reason.

  •  Where are the nurses and doctors on this? (4.00)
    There was a time when they could stand up against this kind of barbarity.  Yet those days are gone. I have given up on doctors. While busy over med-mal, doctors  got in bed with insurance companies and adminstrators,letting them dictate with cruelty over the practice of medicine.
    •  The doctor on duty (3.66)
      when my mother suffered an unexpected life threatening complication of cancer was a right wing Fundie asshole. He kept bugging us and pleading with us to take her off the respirator.
      My mother entered that ER and asked for a respirator ( although she would have died 6 months to 9 months later from cancer in all probabilit)..she entered the hospital at a time when she was recovering and doing much better.
      He kept telling us we needed to accept this and to let her die ( keep in mind my mother only feel into unconsciousness an hour before ). In fact, my mother died less than 6 hours after she first threw up and aspirated some fluid into her legs. The minute she got the respirator, she was unconscious and not suffering. But she was NOT brain dead. We wanted to honor her wishes. So she coded twice and died the third time DESPITE the Respirator.

      But this awful, horrible doctor kept lecturing us  to take the respirator off. I told him flatly, NO! I promised my mother just the day before we would not pull plugs as she was doing so well at that point. She had no pain throughout her cancer ordeal or side effects to chemo, she was responding well. She told me point blank..unless she was on a respirator for more than a week..then and only then, pull the plug if there was little hope for recovery. But here she was ONLY only on the Respirator for 2 hours and this FUNDIE doctor ( we know others who go to church with him )....was telling us if we loved our mother, to get her off the respirator and let her die.

      So much for culture of life.

      America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand-Harry S. Truman

      by wishingwell on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 03:30:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Plano, huh? (4.00)
    It figures.

    Jesus saves...and takes half damage.

    by Ari Mistral on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 02:06:55 PM PST

  •  We could try to bring this to the attention of (4.00)
    others in Texas and elsewhere.  Here's the Houston Chronicle's letters email:

    I searched the site - nothing listed under the woman's name.

  •  Tookie Williams murdered four people (supposedly) (4.00)
    And they kept him alive for 25 years before the Republicans killed him.

    This woman killed nobody. All she wanted was a few more days to see her mom. And the Republicans killed her.

    Hundreds of New Orleans folks, who had killed nobody, stood in their attics as floodwaters rose to their ankles, then their knees, then their chests, then over their heads, while Michael Brown enjoyed dinner and said "why didn't they evacuate?" Republicans killed them all.

    The two uniting factors of all these people?

    Their color. Their financial status.

    If you're a Republican and you use your brain for anything resembling humanity, at this moment you have to cease being a Republican, or forever mark yourself as the supporter of a fascist tyrant.

    •  Precisely (4.00)
      Although I am opposed to the death penalty, I agree with you completely. Most on death row live 20-25 years prior to their execution or even longer. Some die on death row of natural causes.
      Now I am not saying capital punishment is humane, but it certainly from all reports of witnesses, once the drugs were administered, he probably fell asleep before dying. I imagine those getting the lethal injection are given medication to put them to sleep first and into unconsciousness.
      ( Granted, it took 20 minutes to get the IV in him which is mental torture..he was frustrated it took so long..but something about the law is firm saying that witnesses get to the entire process) But those of us who had surgery and all doctors can takes a while to do Surgical Prep and get IVS in. I was in a holding room for a half hour getting IVS and prep for Surgery each time I went to the OR for a procedure).

      But this poor woman was conscious and suffocated to death probably with few drugs. Those executed get more humane treatment.

      America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand-Harry S. Truman

      by wishingwell on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 03:36:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  on the iv (none)
        iirc that has to do with using untrained people to insert the IV - as doctors are supposed to be ethically barred from directly killing people.  also
        shooting up will screw up people's veins.

        "It's OUR money".no it ain't. It's the Peoples Republic of China's money. You just borrowed it-and anybody want to bet they probably will want it back? -daulton

        by Eric Novinson on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 12:10:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  More upsetting (4.00)
    is that Baylor is associated with Baylor Univrsity--a BAPTIST school.  I thought they believed in life? I guess they only belevee init if it's (a) unborn and (b) doesn't cost too much.  But I've come across cases where a woman wans't allowed to termiante a pregnancy becsue her child would have severe defects and wouldn't loive very long if carried to term--I guess the idea is to birth 'em, bpatize 'em abd bury 'em.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 02:12:21 PM PST

  •  Unbelievable!! (4.00)
    It's unbelievable that in this country you can't make a decision to "pull your own plug", but if your out of money, someone else can "pull your plug" against your wishes!  I am fucking incensed!!  What in the hell is happening to this country?

    Just when you thought it couldn't possibly get any worse...

    by reflectionsv37 on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 02:13:47 PM PST

  •  She was dying of cancer (2.00)
    the family had plenty of notice to send for the mother.  
    This post is a perfect example of our culture's perverted fear of death.  
    If we ever hope to have socialized medicine in this country, we will have to accept death sooner at the beginning and end of life.  That is exactly what is done in all the other Western nations with socialized medicine.
    I have to remind you folks that death is a natural process just as necessary to life as living itself.  WE ALL WILL DIE.
    Getting back to the Tookie thing.  This is exactly why I am against the so called death "PENALTY".  It is a false punishment.  DEATH IS NOT A PUNISHMENT.  The woman had a much harder death than Tookie.  Deserving has nothing to do with it.  Does the child that gets run over in the driveway deserve to die?  Does the saintly person who did good deeds everyday "deserve" to die a long lingering death from some horrendous disease?  Death just IS.  Stop treating it as some abnormal occurence.  Self-analyze your fear.  American Christianity promotes this irrational fear of the greatest mystery.
    •  Could you do us all a favor then (2.16)
      since we all are destined to die eventually, and see what you can do to hurry up your own processes in that regard?
      •  just to be clear (3.33)
        The one for for a personal attack, not because you disagreed.

        SOCIAL SECURITY: Invented by Democrats yesterday, Protected by Democrats today

        by mollyd on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 02:23:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not personal in the slightest (4.00)
          I was attempting to convey the irony behind the commenter's point of view. Everyone can be blithe about the price of death as long as they aren't talking about their own demise. Believe me, when it comes to be his turn, he'll suddenly get real sentimental about being granted an extra 5 minutes, let alone however much more time it would've taken to fly in the mother from Africa.
      •  that was harsh .. (none)
        but inside it it's a valid pov, in a really snarky way ..

        when it comes time for each one of us or our loved ones, ending supportive care should be a decision made not based upon dollars and cents of profit making bean counters and hospital administrators, but on humanity - most importantly weighing the perceived quality of life from the viewpoint of the person and their closest trusted family members.

        "Symplerovus vulgaris americanus" - nasty unindicted co-conspirator. -7.63, -9.59

        by shpilk on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 04:24:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for noticing (none)
          I wasn't intending to suggest I wished anyones actual death to be hastened, I only meant to call out the commenter on that person's rather callous admonition for everybody else to "get over it," while claiming to be fearless in the face of death himself. It's human nature to strive for every last breath. It appears the woman was not comatose, though we have no way of knowing exactly what "responsive" means in this instance.

          Anyway, I'm glad you noticed the snark without needing to be guided by those ridiculous "tags."

      •  I read this ... (none)
        as sarcasm to bring home the point. The previous post was ... uninformed, to say the least.

        I don't think it is "unproductive" to point out bullshit without using the word (words?) "BULLSHIT!"

    •  not true (4.00)
      You said: the family had plenty of notice to send for the mother.

      This is obviously not true, given the info in the article.

    •  Not all cancers take forever (4.00)
      My niece died of cancer. She found out about it, and THREE WEEKS later she was dead.


      Do you know how long it takes to get a visa to come here now? Months.

      But she 'should have planned better.' Right.

      •  Yes (4.00)
        My mother was improving, despite having cancer, and she was discharged from the hospital. She was even admitted to a rehab hospital to learn how to use a feeding tube at home. But the doctor had just called me and told me she was doing well.
        He was so pleased. My mother was dead of an unexpected, sudden complication in less than 24 hours after being told all was much better and there was some real hope for partial remission.

        America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand-Harry S. Truman

        by wishingwell on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 04:05:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  3 days... (4.00)
          My step-great-uncle lasted 3 days from first symptoms, unles he was "covering", ignoring a cough or something, which would be like him... Very very agressive and rare lung cancer. At least he had a very full life...
    •  I agree (4.00)
      that we have to be willing to not prolong life, and more willing to accept death.

      That said, this was still wrong. It wasn't the wish to prolong life indefinitely that's the problem here, it was the disregard of a dying woman's wish that was the problem.

      In the state's that I've lived, I'm sure she would have been transferred to a hospice, and allowed time for her mother to arrive. Additionally, most hospitals I know of would have worked with the state department to get her mother here as soon as possible.

      Finally, I take exception to the comparisons to William's death. Many posters have suggested that she wasn't given pain killers, and we simply don't know that one way or another, based on the information provided. But I've watched enough family members die to be pretty confident that she was receiving morphine or a morphine derivitive. I'm not a doctor, but I know when they removed my Dad's respirator they gave him pain killers because the removal process is painfull. As I recall, it was a standard protocol.

      •  Not sure... (none)
        ..but I think hospice means "no extraordinary medical intervention" i.e. no ventilator.  You'd be hard pressed to have a hospice be able to provide a vent, as it requires constant monitoring and tinkering with by ICU docs.

        Sometime, I'll do a diary on the problems ventilators pose: bottom line, there aren't enough of them in this country, and when they're used, often they're not parceled out in a rational way.  I know this is a very touchy subject, and it's really a ethically ambiguous area: what's the criteria for who gets the vent, and who doesn't?  And what's the cost-benefit analysis for using it?  These are all sticky ethical dilemmas, and I don't envy the ICU folks who have to make these decisions every day.

        People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

        by viget on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 04:02:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, and thank you. (none)
          I know hospice won't place a vent, but my dad went to one with a vent in place.

          Perhaps it was not just a hospice, however. I know we called it that, and I've forgotten most of the details to preserve my own sanity. (And I wonder how these types of services vary between states, making it hard to have a national dialogue?)

      •  Did your Dad (none)
        have insurance to pay for the morphine or morphine derivitive?

        Maybe I'm just being cynical and they would spend money on morphine for a patient that can't talk and is going to die in a few minutes anyway because she didn't have enough money to keep her on a respirator long enough so that her Mom  could get there.

        Does the devil wear a suit and tie, Or does he work at the Dairy Queen- Martin Sexton

        by strengthof10kmen on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 07:52:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't agree entirely but... (3.80)
      This post raises an important issue: If we ever hope to have socialized medicine in this country, we will have to accept death sooner at the beginning and end of life.  That is exactly what is done in all the other Western nations with socialized medicine.

      I was talking to an MD some time ago, and I mentioned that most health care costs come at the end of life, and she said "and the beginning too". Most of our medical resources are devoted to needlessly and painfully prolonging the lives of the hopelessly ill or hopelessly premature.  This is an important issue when health care is coming to consume 1 of every 6 dollars in this country, and when nearly 20% of people don't have insurance.

      I would go so far to say that assisted suicide should be the norm, not the exception. I certainly cannot contemplate a long and lingering death for myself, like the subject of this diary.

      •  Rationing of healthcare (4.00)
        has to happen one way or another, that is a fact because of the advances of medical technology.

        And it is a difficult but serious discussion that has to take place. When they made the oregon plan, a board sat down and discussed this to determine the most and lest cost effective health measures. Keeping alive very premie babies who had only partial brains was one of the most expensive procedures with an outcome that was always unsatisfactory.

        SOCIAL SECURITY: Invented by Democrats yesterday, Protected by Democrats today

        by mollyd on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 03:09:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  PAYMENT must be rationed (none)
          long before provision of healthcare.

          It is far better to limit a doctor's income to $500 per hour and a drug to $500 a dose than to needlessly disconnect a conscious human being from life support.


          •  wow... (none)
            $500 an hour.. that's $4000 per 8 hour day, or one million dollars per 250 working-day year.  Not bad.  You should suggest this to the AMA - they'll love you.

            Actually, the money paid to MDs is somewhere between 10% to 15% of all health care dollars spent, much less than the 30% or so consumed in paperwork.

            •  My brother had surgery three weeks ago (none)
              in a small city in Upstate New York. The bill was $3,000 for a six and a half hour surgery. That is slightly less than $500 an hour.
              •  Yes but... (none)
                1. how many doctors?
                2. how many nurses?
                3. how much prep time and overhead time?
                4. what are the overhead costs (OR upkeep, expendables, instrument upkeep, etc, etc, etc)
                5. following from points 1..4 above: how much did each individual MD get? Is it really close to $500?

                $3000 is fairly cheap for 6 hrs in my book. Sorry. $3000 is what a good tailored suit costs. Or a bad used car.

                Look at it it this way: for every dollar that an MD got, the paper pushers got about $2.

      •  But I would hope a system (none)
        would always have room to wait until the person was not conscious and alert and wanting to stay alive...

        or at could wait until a mother far away could arrive to be beside her conscious, alert daughter.

        I hope socialized medicine never becomes so unsocial.

        For every person killed under the Futile Care Law is another person covered for life by insurance?
        Here we just have the worst of both worlds.

    •  When was the last time (4.00)
      you applied for a visitor's visa to the USA from a poverty-stricken nation?

      Just getting in line to TURN IN your fucking APPLICATION can take WEEKS!

      Oh, you didn't think about that? The only way to jump the line is to have a Senator pull strings at the State Department.  Think Kay Bailey Bittles or John Crown Bush the King Cornyn has time for poor people from Africa?  

      I'm sorry, but what you wrote is just NOT from an informed point of view.

      •  When a person makes the decision to move away (none)
        from loved ones.  They must be prepared to let them go.  When she moved half-way across the world from her mother, that was the choice she made.  It is hardly sustainable to keep up this level of expensive travel.  I have always questioned the wisdom of leaving those that truely love you but should be then it must be done with the understanding of the distance involved.  Whatever the reason, that travel is rationed to those can afford it and have access.  The mother thing...everyone more than likely thinks of their mother at their death.  I most likely will long for her comforting breast.  She will be long deceased (hopefully) by then.
        Remember the scene in Saving Private Ryan with the wounded soldiers calling for their mammas in the night.  Dying without mama is more likely than not.  I have no doubt that she will be in my mind and heart at the end so, in a way, MY mama will be there.
        •  Right. (4.00)
          So when you've been handed the later saying the the state has authorized the hospital administrators to remove your oxygen and let you die in 10 days, you'll nod sagely in your hospital gown, thinking:  "If I'd only planned a little better I could have had good health insurance and lived longer.  Sure wish Mom could be with me.  But I guess the state knows best, and economically, it doesn't make any sense to prolong my life."

          If not for the cat,
          And the scarcity of cheese
          I could be content.
          --Jack Prelutsky

          by Reepicheep on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 08:37:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You don't understand immingration (4.00)
          or the circumstances that may make a poor person, like this woman, move away from loved ones - I.m certain this was no "Oh, I'd like to move to the USA to experience the culture and the great food"-type of situation.

          Many people move away from loved ones out of great need and with a significant personal sacrifice which does not, and should not, include being "prepared to let them go"

          With all due respect, stop being so judgemental when you don't undertand the issues.

        •  You don't know why or how she was here (none)
          She could have married an American, been married to a grad student studying here, etc.

          You move with your spouse. You get residency, maybe citizenship if it's a better place than you came from.

          Your PARENTS don't. Your siblings don't.

          My sister lives in England, my brother lives in California. When my mother died suddenly, we were living in Turkey. When my mother-in-law in California was dying of cancer, we were living in England.

          WHY were we living there? Ask the AF. That's where they sent us. And no, they DO NOT totally pay for transportation when you have a death in the family. You can fly MILITARY planes, but not necessarily to where you need to go, when you need to get there, and dependents aren't always eligible.

    •  But (4.00)
      Both of my parents died of cancer. It is not always as you describe. And both died quite differently.
      1. My father had lost a great deal of weight and it was obvious he was going downhill. But he was an overachiever and he was out there driving, doing yard and housework, paying bills, going about life until 6 weeks before he died. He always was communicating, laughing, aware of everyone and everything up until 24 hours prior to his death. He even requested a Kit Kat candy bar and a Doctor Pepper soda a few hours before dying.

      2. My mother was doing quite well despite having advanced cancer. Doctors said she was doing good and although there was no cure, there was hope for many months to come and possible semi remission. She died 2 weeks later after suffering an unexpected complication. Hell I live 2 hours and I could not get to the hospital in time to say goodbye. And I spoke to her just a few hours before that and she was fine. I would not take her off the respirator because she had asked for it. She was doing far too good at that point to even consider otherwise. I would have been angry and never the same again had the hospital disregarded her wishes and pulled the plug. As it was, my mother died on the respirator despite heroic measures so we did not have to make that choice. But that did not stop the attending M.D and RN from browbeating us about it. But her oncologist agreed with us and quickly called to apologize for it.

      3. Terminal cancer patients can be quite coherent, rational, and alert.  Many terminal patients' still can think, reason, speak, communicate, and are aware of everything and everyone around them.

      4. It is not that we cannot accept death. It is a generalization to say this as far as cancer and some diseases are concerned. Not every dying person has Alzheimers or is a Terri Schiavo. In fact, few are in that state days or even hours before death.

      America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand-Harry S. Truman

      by wishingwell on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 03:48:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You do not understand the problem. (4.00)
      I suggest you quit blaming the family for George Bush's mistakes. Ten days was not enough time for the mother to get her visa.

      She wanted to live, so who are you to blame the victim for having some kind of preverted fear of death? This is all about what she wanted, not about what you might want when faced with a similar situation. She is not an extension of yourself.

      •  Best phrased response to (4.00)
        that post. I found it a little too awful to be able to think rationally in responding. Much as we all would like to always be rational, there are some things that are just too personally offensive or hit too close to home to always be 'Mr. Spock.'

        The simple point is this:  The law was created to allow hospitals and doctors to end care when the bills are not being paid. Although some folks have kindly posted parts of the law in question, the reason for the law's creation was financial.

        By the way, Baylor is a NON-PROFIT hospital that is supposed to provide indigent care. So, I'm doing a triple "WTF!" over this....

      •  It isn't so much her fear (none)
        It is your fear and attitude about the end of life that it is by necessity negative and abnormal.  
        The circumstances in death are as individual as the persons that die.  Yes, it is natural to seek every last breath and it is natural to fear the mystery for it is awesome without comprehension.  
        Is there something more than this body/machine?  It is unknown.  What is known and is most important is our purpose for this very short time on the planet.  Right now at this moment.  That is all we really have   is THIS place.  The beginning and the end of our allotted time is not subject to our will very much.  It is the time between the beginning and end that matter.  
        •  Then, why are you hijacking this diary? (4.00)
          If you are not meaning to talk about her fears, then what you are saying is off-topic and should be covered in a separate diary.

          In the meantime, you don't tell other people how they should approach death and dying.

          •  hijacking?!?!?! (none)
            How is posting a concise, if contrary, opinion to the original diarist a "hijacking" of the diary? You may disagree with his position, but the author of that comment hasn't used invective or personal attacks to further his position. Am I missing something here? --M

            Enjoy reading The Proxies, a free crime thriller in short story form.

            by maynard on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 09:58:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  This isn't about him. (none)
              If he wants to talk about his own views of dying, then he should write his own diary, and I might even recommend such an effort. But this is about this lady's wishes, not his. He has no business telling her what to do.
              •  Couple of points: (none)
                First of all, are you suggesting that only those who agree with a diarist should post in a diary? Would that only serve to stifle dissent? And is this not a public forum?

                Second, The lady is dead. He isn't in a position to tell her what to do, he is using her situation as an example to present his own policy views. Seems perfectly legitimate to me. --M

                Enjoy reading The Proxies, a free crime thriller in short story form.

                by maynard on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 11:23:11 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  If that was the case: (none)
                  If that was the case, then he should make himself clearer. It seemed to me and many others like he was sitting in judgement on her as opposed to just using the situation to present his own views.
                  •  I assume (none)
                    you're responding to my second point and not the first. OK, so you're saying he was "judging" her instead of just presenting an opinion, which isn't appropriate. And that it's his fault for not making this clear enough...

                    1st) what's wrong with making a judgment about another person? Even if it's a judgment that others disagree with?

                    2nd) Perhaps he made his point clear and still disagrees with you... what then?


                    IMO: disagree with him (or me for that matter) - nothing wrong with that. Demanding that another member shut-up for posting their say - that I find far more inappropriate than what the OP wrote. Again... JMO. --M

                    Enjoy reading The Proxies, a free crime thriller in short story form.

                    by maynard on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 11:53:41 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Then why on earth criticize (4.00)
          people who wish to extend the period of time between the beginning and the end? Since that's apparently all that matters.

          You pontificate about mysteries and life's fragile special-whahoozis, yet you still felt compelled to act as an apologist for accountants who want to rip out the tubes when they can't get paid. Who really needs the lectures on life's intangibles? I would submit you direct your genius toward the head of accounts receivable at the Plano hospital.

          You're quite a piece of work.

          •  Hypocrisy (none)
            The discussion as I understand is not about whether this person was afraid to die or should have been kept alive indefinitely on the taxpayer's dollar.  The point of this diary is that the party of the "culture of life" is simply not about the "culture of life" unless you have the cash to pay your own bills.  I don't like what this says about our society.    

            Just because you're self-righteous doesn't mean you're not a hypocrite.

            by AMcG826 on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 09:33:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  GMTA (4.00)
            piece of work is exactly the phrase I was thinking of using about this poster.

            It must be nice to be so freaking sophisticated.

    •  WTF ? (4.00)
      First of all Christians are not afraid of death anymore than anyone else.  What we all fear is a painful or agonizing death.  How much longer could this woman have been awake and aware if she was raveged so bad by cancer that she was on a respirator?  A few days, a few weeks?
      There is no reason she could not have been left on the repirator long enough to die in her mother's arms.  
  •  I just Googled Baylor Plano (4.00)
    Their site includes a statement entitled "Goals of care at the end of life" (

    What transpired in this case appears to be normal guidelines for them.

    Despite these inherent difficulties, the Texas legislature has recently enacted a law that specifies a process to deal with disputes between providers and patients or families over the provision of life-sustaining treatments. This process is as follows:

    The family must be given written information concerning hospital policy on the ethics consultation process.
    The family must be given 48 hours' notice and be invited to participate in the ethics consultation process.
    The ethics consultation team must provide the family with a written report of the findings of the ethics review process.
    If the ethics consultation process fails to resolve the dispute, the hospital, working with the family, must try to arrange transfer to another provider physician and institution who are willing to give the treatment requested by the family and refused by the current treatment team.
    If after 10 days, no such provider can be found, the hospital and physician may unilaterally withhold or withdraw the therapy that has been determined to be futile.
    The party who disagrees may appeal to the relevant state court and ask the judge to grant an extension of time before treatment is withdrawn. If the family does not seek an extension, or if the judge fails to grant one, futile treatment may be unilaterally withdrawn by the treatment team with immunity from civil or criminal prosecution.

    So sorry (and sickened) to hear about this. It seems those Texans who are lauded for taking in hurricane victims could have gotten together to bring the mother to the states OR extended the ten-day travel time. Does anyone know if the family appealed the decision?

  •  That's the bit that bugs me, too. (none)
    By that measure, anyone terminal is receiving futile care if you get right down to it. But there's palliative care and some of that can be extensive. My aunt went through a lot of chemo to treat her terminal cancer to keep up her comfort level.

    But yes, this is disgusting.

    Nobody likes big government until they need something. -5.88, -6.82

    by Debby on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 09:19:58 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

  •  asdf trying to close the box (none)
    maybe here:  
  •  I think (4.00)
    I think this is what really really irritates me about the right wing. It's one thing if you have a philosophical outlook about life/reality and it is consistent across all spectrums of debate and topics. But with the right, this just isn't the case. They are so inconsistent in their views on things, it makes all their stances just basically hypocritical bullshit.

     I simply can't respect people who pick and choose when to apply their ethic/outrage/ and/or  morals. It just doesn't work that way. The right are basically hypocrits one and all, ufortunately the problem is, they are so shallow and so incapable of deep introspection, they simply don't see their glaring faulty stances.

  •  Culture of Cash (none)
    Culture of Capital
    Where are those culture of life assholes?

    Where is this fucking Jesus these religious assholes keep talking about? Where is this Christian mercy? Why didn't one of these eyesore Evangelical Megachurches contribute cash to keep this woman alive? Hypocrites. All of them. When they get to hell no amount of pain and torment will be enough.

    I hate these people. I hate them so much. If they were dying on the street I would laugh and spit in their face. Why is Texas like this? Why do these so-called 'good people' allow this to go on? I'm ashamed I'm a citizen of a country that allows this to go on.

    If there is a hell I pray that they and their loved ones soon find themselves deep within it.

    I'm shaking as I write this. My father recently passed due to cancer -- he held on as long as he could so he could see or talk to my brother serving witht he Marines in Afghanistan. I can't imagine our horror and rage if this had been us. That poor woman.

    Something's gotta change in this country before anger boils over into something worse. If that had been my family I can't say that I wouldn't have simply killed the people responsible.

    Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

    by Benito on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 02:46:09 PM PST

  •  Check out Barb's diary!!!!!!! (none)
    GOP Christians versus the Bible
    by BarbinMD

    soooooooo amazing...the hypocrisy kills me

  •  Tirhas joins Sun Hudson, Karla Faye Tucker, et. al (4.00)
    Karl Rove annointed the fake cowboy from Connecticut a "Compassionate, conservative Christian". Bush's actions demonstrate he is none of the three. Ironic that both baby Sun Hudson and Terri Schiavo were both "terminated" in March, 2005. But almost no one has ever heard of that little black baby. Read Dr. Justin's Frank's book, "Bush on the Couch". He basically calls Bush a sadistic dry drunk. When conservative writer Carlson Tucker interviewed then Gov. Bush in 1999, he asked Bush what the executed Karla Faye Tucker might have said to him if he[Bush]had been willing to take her calls. Bush replied in a squeaky voice, "Pleaseee don't kill me." Making a mockery of a lady that had become a Christian on death row is the action of one sick human being.
  •  They hypocrisy of phony (4.00)
    Christian bigots like Bush and his Evangelical supporters seems bottomless.

    F em all.

    U.S. blue collar vs. CEO income in 1992 was 1:80; in 1998 it was 1:418.

    by Lode Runner on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 02:57:43 PM PST

  •  Great diary YucatanMan (4.00)
    These republicans are completely shameless. You make the point very well.

    Culture of selfishness and greed, yes.

    Culture of life and compassion, no.; an oasis of truth. -1.75 -7.23

    by Shockwave on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 02:57:55 PM PST

  •  more information needed... (4.00)
    Especially details about her level of consciousness. Searches at the Dallas Morning News, the Star-Telegram, and the Plano Star-Courier didn't turn up any stories about her. Way to go, MSM. The ABC news link above is behind a registration wall.
  •  After 15 minutes (none)
    My outrage is still on high alert!

    Perhaps we should pull the life giving plug on this two faced president, time to end the money flow to his administration.

    When sentencing comes we should put him on life support for endless decades and confine him to a 24 hour bombardment of teles that show his effect upon all creatures on this planet, no kleenex's needed as this fucker won't cry!

  •  This is just more (4.00)
    of the example of what the so called far right "Christians" want in our world.

    Today BarbinMD had a GREAT diary on what the bible says, and what the GOP says and what they do.

    There is just no excuse for the GOP, NONE.

    "September 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country." Judge Gerald Tjoflat

    by SanJoseLady on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 03:20:24 PM PST

  •  Wow! (4.00)
    The mind boggles at the hypocrisy of Republicans.
       And how the doctors could do such a thing.

    "In her mercy, history anesthetizes those whom she intends to destroy." -Leon Trotsky

    by gjohnsit on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 03:26:58 PM PST

  •  Could she have requested (none)
    that she get put to sleep first? First give her the anesthesia, then pull the plug? You medical people, is there any way she could have avoided 15 minutes of suffocation or gasping for breath or whatever happened when they pulled the plug?

    "The election's over. We won. It's all over but the counting, and we'll take care of the counting." Rep. Peter King (R-NY) at WH function, 2003

    by kathika on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 03:29:46 PM PST

  •  I'll probably get in trouble for this... (none)
    But I personally believe that the reason healthcare is in such horrible trouble right now is the so-called "culture of life."  

    No matter how disease-raddled, ancient, or torn up your body is, the medical establishment is pretty much required to do as much as they can to try to keep you alive for as long as they can...even if there is no hope for recovery or a decent quality of life.

    This used to be less of an issue when fewer expensive radical treatments were available, but now that there's fixes for so many erstwhile guaranteed fatal conditions, a large majority of people receive horrendously expensive care just before they die...on the order of millions of dollars - often more cash than that person made during their entire life (and no, I'm NOT a Republican)

    I don't believe in the logic trap of "setting a value on human life," instead, I try to think of it as rationally determining what our economy can afford to fund.  If the choice is between spending $1 million on someone who has a 10% chance to life for another year and providing healthcare for 1000 kids who otherwise would have none, guess which one I'll pick?  We need to decide where the limited medical dollars we have would be best used to prevent suffering.

    If faced with the choice of sticking my family with several million in medical bills and dying, I would gladly choose to die.  This is a decision so few people make (or are allowed to make in most cases), because it is culturally unpopular, and frankly, scary.  It also has a certain Soylent Green feel to it, but shouldn't.  If someone is 75 years old, has had 3 heart attacks, 2 strokes, and is suffering from incurable colon cancer, it's time to pull the fricking plug already!!!

    Of course doing things like preventing cost overrun abuses by drug and medical supply companies would go a long way to make things more affordable, as well as having everyone covered by insurance rather than expensive emergency room visits by the uninsured whose kids have a cold who can't be turned away, but until such time as we have "enough" to take care of everyone, something's got to give.

    I guess my overriding point is that universally some reason needs to be applied to the decision of, "Is the cost of this procedure worth its possible result?"

  •  Where Were The Right-To-Life Legions? (none)
    Do they exist only as a political front for mechanized killing overseas?
    Or are they only concerned with those who are fair of skin and fat of wallet?

    Honestly, this is not pure snark... I really want to know because they would have reached me with this case.

    9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

    by NewDirection on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 04:02:32 PM PST

  •  This is a TERRIBLE (none)
    story....This poor woman.

    There are SO many things wrong with this...first, that she and her family weren't allowed to make the choice...that it was a choice forced on them because of MONEY.

    Second, that she had to suffer for fifteen minutes as she died...THAT is completely appalling to me.

    Third, that these people at the hospital were so completely unhelpful and heartless..."compassionate" conservatism my ass...

    Fourth, that Georgie (I love all life when it benefits me and gets me votes....) made it legal for them to do this without the permission of the family or the person who was dying.

    How hard would it have been for them to wait for her family (including her mom) to arrive, let them visit, get her permission and her family's permission, and THEN, finally, give her some pills and let her die if going to sleep...rather than making her suffer by gasping for air.

    THAT would have been at least a bit more civilized. But I guess I can't expect much from a Texas Republican....heartless conservatives...that's more accurate a name for this crap.

    (I am SO mad!)

  •  Classic GOP bungling. (none)
    It is clear that Bush and his allies value corporate profits over human lives, and this is a classic example. This just goes to show that the GOP is not credible when talking about the Culture of Life. They did not exert the same kind of effort to save Tirhas that they did to save Terri.

    The underlying motif here is control. The GOP is like a big nanny state which thinks that you are too stupid to make your own decisions. I wonder if she had expressed the wish to die if they would have fought tooth and nail against that desire.

  •  Tirhas Habtegiris is just one more (4.00)
    grim statistic of class warfare - if she was affluent and white, she'd be on the respirator as long as she wanted to be. We all know it.

    This sad story is a microcosm of what plays for 'morality' in Texas and in America. Not a pretty picture. It's just one of many stories played out in nursing homes, hospitals and pallative care centers.  

    What is seems grossly unfair is the use of profitability as a yardstick for human life.

    But ..

    Put it in perspective, this one life, which ended a little too soon for our comfort zone, pales in comparison to the tens of thousands that die every day from hunger, easily preventable disease and needless violence. It is one life against the 100,000 dead Iraqis and some 3,000 Americans, Brits and other coalition forces that would be alive today if not for another decision made for profitability.

    It's so hard to know where to begin, to heal the world.

    "Symplerovus vulgaris americanus" - nasty unindicted co-conspirator. -7.63, -9.59

    by shpilk on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 04:34:31 PM PST

  •  this isn't the only one (none)
    remember Sun Hudson?  an infant who was allowed to die in spite of the wishes of the parents.  

    when people talk about the pathetic response of the federal government to Katrina being "ethnic cleansing" I tend to think that's a little overstated.  but then I hear about this kind of thing and know that the GOP is a cyncial bunch of social Darwinists who only care about themselves.

    this makes me as ashamed of our society as the death penalty does.  we seem to have developed a death penalty for the poor and down trodden at every path they might cross.  

    Just because you're self-righteous doesn't mean you're not a hypocrite.

    by AMcG826 on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 04:38:40 PM PST

  •  I am disgusted by this. (none)
    However what's more disgusting is that no politician very few men of the cloth will speak out about this hypocrisy. I have to read about this on the dailykos. This is about what kind of society we have become and it makes me sick. this is not the America I grew up in. Did the chimp grow up in this

    Bush is one gigantic immoral mountain of hypocrisy and the MSM is virtually silent on it. Is Chris Mathews and his ilk, afraid to be on the enemies list? Or is he afraid of loosing a big fact paycheck?


  •  I would love to know (none)
    why the family couldn't get this story out before she died.  I wonder if they were pressured in any way to keep quiet.  It would be fairly easy to do to immigrants.  I know.. I KNOW FOR A FACT... that if the story had gotten to this website the day  the family got the notice, this community could have done something about it.  There are people who come here, Cindy Sheehan for instance, who could have got this story in the public eye while this woman was alive.
    What a shame.

    "Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar." Edward R. Murrow

    by justrock on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 04:57:44 PM PST

  •  But they oppose "right to die" measures (none)
    How convEEEEEn-yent.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who will watch the watchers?)

    by The Crusty Bunker on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 05:07:29 PM PST

  •  This is Murder (4.00)
    and makes me physically ill.  How horrible.  Prayers to Tirhas and her family.

    ...and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.

    by rlharry on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 05:29:27 PM PST

  •  The 3 Baylors in Texas (4.00)
    Just some background facts, so y'all know who to blame (and who not to).

    There are 3 prominent "Baylor" organizations in Texas:
      Baylor Health Care System, centered in Dallas-Fort Worth
      Baylor University, the Baptist University in Waco
      Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston

      The last, Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), is and has always been a separate legal entity, albeit with a temporary association to the University. It was originaly founded in Dallas as the "University of Dallas Medical Department" (even though there was no U. of Dallas). They then associated with (but remained independent of) Baylor University and took the name "Baylor University College of Medicine". They then moved to Houston (free land and a huge grant of money), broke the association with the Baptists and shortened the name to its current form. They're now a purely sectarian medical organization, do not have any hospitals, but do run clinics and supply staff to hospitals, mostly in the Houston area.

      Baylor Health Care System and Baylor University (BU) have always been Baptist organizations. Originally, they were very closely affiliated, and closely controlled by the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT). However, as the fundies started gaining control of the Convention, the moderates instituted a series of "poison pill" maneuvers to give a certain amount of irrevocable control to both the University and the Health Care System (as well as other Baptist instutions). There was of course litigation and I lost track of the all the details, but the net result is that both organizations are still closely affiliated with the BGCT, but are relatively independent operationally.

      In other words, the "buck" on this one should go to the board of the Health Care System, and a bit to the BGCT; BU and BCM had nothing to do with it...

      Every member of the board of Baylor Health Care System is required to be a Baptist, but keep in mind that there's quite a diversity among Baptists. While the fundies have become dominant lately, there are still a lot of liberal-to-moderate Baptists and ex-Baptists, such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Jimmy Carter. Don't make the mistake of trying to tar all the Baptists with the "culture of life" stuff, a minority of them are on "our side" in the culture wars.

    (Me? I'm a backslid U.-U. and a vaguely not-very-gruntled ex-employee of BCM; my wife got jerked-around in a corporate-style reorg, but I made some life-long friends there, most of whom have since fled as well.)

  •  "Scrooge" W. Bush's Christmas Cheer... (none)
    From "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. Does this sound familiar?

     "A merry Christmas, uncle!  God save you!" cried a cheerful voice.  It was the voice of Scrooge's nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach.

    "Bah!" said Scrooge, "Humbug!"

    He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, this nephew of Scrooge's, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again.

    "Christmas a humbug, uncle!" said Scrooge's nephew.  "You don't mean that, I am sure."

    "I do," said Scrooge.  "Merry Christmas!  What right have you to be merry?  What reason have you to be merry?  You're poor enough."

    "Come, then," returned the nephew gaily.  "What right have you to be dismal?  What reason have you to be morose?  You're rich enough."

    Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said "Bah!" again; and followed it up with "Humbug."

    "Don't be cross, uncle!" said the nephew.

    "What else can I be," returned the uncle, "when I live in such a world of fools as this?  Merry Christmas!  Out upon merry Christmas!  What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in 'em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you?  If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.  He should!"

    "Uncle!" pleaded the nephew.

    "Nephew!" returned the uncle, sternly, "keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine."

    "Keep it!" repeated Scrooge's nephew.  "But you don't keep it."

    "Let me leave it alone, then," said Scrooge.  "Much good may it do you!  Much good it has ever done you!"

    "There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say," returned the nephew.  "Christmas among the rest.  But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -- apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.  And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"

    The clerk in the tank involuntarily applauded: becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety, he poked the fire, and extinguished the last frail spark for ever.

    "Let me hear another sound from you," said Scrooge, "and you'll keep your Christmas by losing your situation.  You're quite a powerful speaker, sir," he added, turning to his nephew.  "I wonder you don't go into Parliament."

    "Don't be angry, uncle.  Come!  Dine with us tomorrow."

    Scrooge said that he would see him -- yes, indeed he did.  He went the whole length of the expression, and said that he would see him in that extremity first.

    "But why?"  cried Scrooge's nephew.  "Why?"

    "Why did you get married?"  said Scrooge.

    "Because I fell in love."

    "Because you fell in love!" growled Scrooge, as if that were the only one thing in the world more ridiculous than a merry Christmas.  "Good afternoon!"

    "Nay, uncle, but you never came to see me before that happened.  Why give it as a reason for not coming now?"

    "Good afternoon," said Scrooge.

    "I want nothing from you; I ask nothing of you; why cannot we be friends?"

    "Good afternoon," said Scrooge.

    "I am sorry, with all my heart, to find you so resolute.  We have never had any quarrel, to which I have been a party.  But I have made the trial in homage to Christmas, and I'll keep my Christmas humour to the last.  So A Merry Christmas, uncle!"

    "Good afternoon," said Scrooge.

    "And A Happy New Year!"

    "Good afternoon!" said Scrooge.

    His nephew left the room without an angry word, notwithstanding.  He stopped at the outer door to bestow the greetings of the season on the clerk, who cold as he was, was warmer than Scrooge; for he returned them cordially.

    "There's another fellow," muttered Scrooge; who overheard him: "my clerk, with fifteen shillings a week, and a wife and family, talking about a merry Christmas.  I'll retire to Bedlam."

    This lunatic, in letting Scrooge's nephew out, had let two other people in.  They were portly gentlemen, pleasant to behold, and now stood, with their hats off, in Scrooge's office.  They had books and papers in their hands, and bowed to him.

    "Scrooge and Marley's, I believe," said one of the gentlemen, referring to his list.  "Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge, or Mr. Marley?"

    "Mr. Marley has been dead these seven years," Scrooge replied.  "He died seven years ago, this very night."

    "We have no doubt his liberality is well represented by his surviving partner," said the gentleman, presenting his credentials.

    It certainly was; for they had been two kindred spirits.  At the ominous word "liberality," Scrooge frowned, and shook his head, and handed the credentials back.

    "At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge," said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.  Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir."

    "Are there no prisons?" asked Scrooge.

    "Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

    "And the Union workhouses?"  demanded Scrooge.  "Are they still in operation?"

    "They are.  Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not."

    "The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?"  said Scrooge.

    "Both very busy, sir."

    "Oh!  I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course," said Scrooge.  "I'm very glad to hear it."

    2005 was only the beginning.
    Enough Is Enough 2006! It's time for truth.
    Econ: -4.63 Soc: -6.92

    by MamasGun on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 05:41:47 PM PST

  •  Hippocratic oath (4.00)
    Does this not violate the Hippocratic oath? The key line being:

    I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

    The doctors have not considered the wishes of the family. They should have their medical licenses revoked. I'll bet they would have been willing to go into debt to extend her life long enough for her last wishes to be fulfilled. Any other doctors in texas faced with a similar situation should violate the law and bring it before the law for a constitutional review. This is fucking outrageous! It's a pity they were not able to find a pro-bono lawyer to enter a court challenge to the law before they pulled the plug.

    For your benefit, the modern Hippocratic Oath:

    I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

    I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

    I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

    I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

    I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.

    I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

    I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

    I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

    I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

    If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

    Written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University, and used in many medical schools today.

    "lovely little thinker but a bugger when he's pissed"

    by yuriwho on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 06:14:13 PM PST

  •  Republican Priorities (none)

    Dead white girl = risk civil war to preserve

    Dead black woman = risk civil war to kill.

    Heroes Serve - Republicans GET Served.

    by cskendrick on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 06:32:46 PM PST

  •  Incredibly sad story (none)
    which I have forwarded to all of my friends.

    Fascism will come to America in the guise of National Security - Jim Garrison

    by elveta on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 07:14:44 PM PST

  •  Sam Johnson (4.00)
    I'm sure Sam Johnson is one of the congressmen who flew back to DC to keep Terri Schiavo 'alive'. Yet he lives 12 miles from where this woman died. I guess he's been too busy fighting against the torture ban to take care of people living in his own district.
  •  Remind me (none)
    to write out instructions to my family that should we be faced with a similar situation, they should please bring me to the main entrance lobby of the hospital so everybody can see what was being done to me. I'd want to expire in full view of the public in such a case.

    I'd also probably want to take somebody with me. Shame on me for even thinking such a thought.

    In Ye Olden Days there were better ways of handling situations like this. Do you know the Guy de Maupassant story of the peasant caregiver who secretly manages to scare her dying patient to death? The patient was taking too long to die and the caregiver didn't want to lose money on the deal. Dark humor.

    Remember the warnings?!

  •  grrrr (none)

    It is amazing how much can be accomplished when you don't care who gets the credit - Harry Truman Scale: -2.13, -2.97

    by floundericiousMI on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 03:58:27 AM PST

  •  No Google results for Tirhas Habtegiris (none)
    Yucatan Man,
    This is easy enough to believe, unfortunately, but do you have any corraboration for your story?

    W - all boots & hat, no cattle

    by Mosquito Pilot on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 04:33:51 AM PST

  •  Sue (none)
    Her family should sue the State of Texas for deprivation of civil rights.

    "I just had the basic view of the American public -- it can't be that bad out there." Marine Travis Williams after 11 members of his squad were killed.

    by Steven D on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 04:59:11 AM PST

  •  Counterpoint (3.80)
    I'm an M.D. and I sit on a hospital ethics committee.  With what I know of this woman's clinical situation (I admittedly do not have all the details), I probably would have supported Baylor's action in this case.  Continuing this woman on a ventilator, upon which she had been supported for 25 days, would have prolonged her probably profound suffering.  

    Metastatic cancer which causes respiratory failure is terribly painful.  Being on a respirator is also horrible.  You have a tube stuck down your throat; you can't eat, you can't talk, you can't even swallow.  After several days, your throat becomes raw and painful.  You have large catheters stuck into every orifice and lines in your veins that need to be changed every so often which entails poking and prodding with needles.  

    What I don't understand is some of the legal aspects of this.  I don't know enough about GWB's law to know whether this "10 day" rule is at all reasonable.  If it is applied on the basis of class, then it is wrong.  I also don't know how long the process this poor woman's mother would have had to go through to get too Texas.  If we are talking days, then this action was wrong.  If it would have been months, then this discussion is moot because Ms. Habtegiris likely would have been dead by then, ventilator or no ventilator.  

    We face end-of-life decisions in the hospital on a daily basis.  They are the most difficult decisions families and physicians must face.  When it becomes clear that the care we are providing is not medically effective, then we have an ethical obligation to set limits.  And yes, scarce medical resources is necessarily part of the argument.  

    In the end, the Baylor docs probably did the right thing.  If they followed standard medical practices, they had the patient on a morphine drip to keep her comfortable, titrated to prevent pain and air hunger, and mercifully let her die.

  •  Pathetic (none)
    For this to happen in America is just F*%#ing disgrace.  Christians my ass.
  •  Another case of NEJC (none)
    Ok, so you would need a better acronymn, but is this a case of Not Enough Jesus to Care? If this woman had proclaiming all the names that are holy (Bush, Dobson, Robertson, Falwell), do you think that she would have received different treatment?

    What about Tookie as well?

    ...Whirlpools whirl, and dragnets drag...

    by dss on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 06:24:04 AM PST

  •  In the words of Kayne West (none)
    "George Bush doesn't care about black people!".  

    In fact I take it a step further (and perhaps Kayne would have to if the subliminal mind fuck racist media hadn't cut off the microphones) and state Bushco and most rethugs are closet racists who would just as assume see anyone who has a different skin color from them dead, so long as they can make a few bucks off it for their corporate terrorist friends.  

    Bush = Hitler who kills dark skinned people.  

    Bush's staff and corporate terrorist friends=little Eichman's who kill dark skinned people.  

    Boycott Citibank/Citicards. They are corporate thieves and terrorists.

    by tri on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 07:04:39 AM PST

  •  I Pray She's First In Line (none)
    To kick W's ass in the afterlife. Granted, she'll have to get a visitor's pass to hell to do it, but what's an afterlife without a little paperwork?

    Fiscal Conservatives at Their Best
    (Cheers to the DKos diary!)
    Steal what you like.

    by Senor Pez on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 07:09:55 AM PST

  •  It is the Bush law (none)
    If you are white and have money to spend at the hospital we will allow the corporation to pilfer every cellulare dollar of your body, if you aren't white and don't have any money, you are toast!
  •  Culture of killers (none)
    This is a very sad story about very dispicable conduct.  It is a sorry vindication of something we have said at our household for years:  The Republicans will get you into this world but after that, they'll do everything they can to mess up your life and kill you.  Don't ever be fooled by appearances, these people are your friend only as long as it serves their purposes.  Otherwise, you're too much trouble.
  •  Texas sure is good at killing people (none)
    And producing certain politicians who take much glee in helping out.

    This story is so revolting and so sad.  The wingnuts who screamed about Schiavo need to get this one in front of the MSM.

  •  I am losing the ability to be shocked, but... (none)
    this is about the worst fucking story I have seen in a long time.

    Shame on those doctors.  May they suffer a worse fate themselves.

  •  The USA is number 4 in the list of Countries... (none)
    ...that kill their citizens for capital punishment.

    China is number 1.

    I am constantly suprised at how little american citizens seem to care about the horrible position their "greatest country in the world" occupies.

    Really, very surprised, and saddened.

    You want to downsize the government?
    Fuck you. My government defends the American people.

    by deafmetal on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 11:20:27 AM PST

  •  Where's the Opposition? (none)
    Why didn't I hear about this until after she was dead?
  •  Two Points! (none)
    1.  Don't forget that Jack Kervorkian is still in jail for compassionately doing what that hospital with with zero compassion.

    2.  Yucatan - why?  From there?  Love there?  Want to live and die there?

    If it talks like an R, VOTES like an R, it is an R even if it has a D after its name.

    by dkmich on Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 02:38:11 AM PST

  • Close


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