Saturday, April 20, 2019

TADA Amendment Testimony: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Part II

There was a great deal of testimony on SB 2089 and SB 2129. As I mentioned in my prior posts, Texas Alliance for Life, the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, and the other "usual suspects" opposed these important reforms which would provide either a reprieve from the 10-day deadline or provide full due process rights which are now totally lacking. I'm going to provide you with some of that testimony here.

I want you to see Dr. Joe Pojman's testimony in full:

Now, I want you to contrast what he says with what Methodist Hospital said in its briefing. Here are a few screenshots from their brief. You can read the full thing here, it's the Appellee's brief filed on 4/25/18. I also want you to know that despite TAL's, Pojman's, and the Bishops' statements to the contrary, i.e., that it is "unnatural" to have life-sustaining care administered to the dying patient, Methodist Hospital has said that Chris Dunn died a natural death because his life-sustaining treatment was not withdrawn. (Of course, that only came because a lawsuit was filed, but nevertheless, that is their position.)

Now, naturally, I do not agree with everything that Methodist has said here, but I am not going to get into that here. (As I have mentioned before, I am an appellate attorney working on the Dunn appeal and I'm not going to say any more than you see here for now.) You can read the Appellants' briefing here, they filed the initial brief on 2/22/18 and the Reply on 3/5/18. But the natural death admission (which was repeated at least 20 times in Methodist's Response brief) is crucial to this sort of legislative gamesmanship and rhetoric by the pro-TADA crowd who like to say, as Dr. Pojman did in his testimony above, that Chris died an unnatural death in the ICU or that patients whose life-sustaining care is maintained as they are dying is not a natural death. That's not what Methodist says. But that language and position tells you plenty about how lost they are on this issue. 

I'll also note that no doctor claimed his or her conscience was being pricked by continuing care to Chris Dunn. They also never formally diagnosed him. That diagnosis was completed by autopsy. In fact, let me point you to my prior post where I went through the entire case as it was up to that point, including how Methodist tried to obtain guardianship over Chris. Ms. Kelly mentions this in her testimony below. 

Finally, true to the playbook, Pojman argued that Evelyn Kelly wanted everything done under the sun to Chris medically and that that is what all of these families want. I've addressed that nonsense before here and so did Elizabeth Graham in her testimony that I embedded in my prior post.  

I want you to see how wrong he is on the facts and how he uttered outright falsehoods about many key details of the Chris Dunn case with Chris' mother sitting at the table near him. Without further ado, let me show you Ms. Kelly's testimony:

This was terribly painful for Ms. Kelly to endure. I was there, but she made that clear to everyone in the room. That apparently doesn't matter to the supporters of TADA. And, they do so support it, even as none of them could or did defend any due process in the statute in their briefing. They did not list how it complies with the basic due process required under the law. They did not because they could not. The term is mentioned twice in the Amici brief. Once on page 19 in quoting something the Appellants said in their brief and once on page 20 in addressing some case law. They focused on the mootness issue and avoided the merits of the due process argument entirely. As did Methodist. That is telling. My prior post, "Setting the Record Straight..." also addressed and showed how TAL, in its own written words, has come out in support of outright euthanasia. But you don't need me to tell you that. You can see that for yourself. 

Now, I want to end this series on a high note. I want you to see my friend Rich DeOtte give his testimony which occurred after all of this. He was among the last of the testimonies that day. I have come to know the DeOttes in the last six years (we met at the SB 303 hearing in 2013) and I value their friendship, commitment to life and conservative principles, and their faith. They believe and act as true Christians. I have learned much from them. Rich is a civil engineer by training and that comes through in his testimony. He is clear, concise, logical, and focused. He is not overly emotional and that matters as well. He knows all the players; he's worked with many of them through the years on various things. He's watched them and he will call them out and he explains that here. He notes the coldness with which the families have been treated by those on the other side of life on this issue. Nothing was as cold as Pojman doing what he did to Ms. Kelly sitting right there with him. That coldness is palpable when you are there in person at these legislative committee hearings and when you are in these ethics committee hearings at hospitals. These "advocates" literally dehumanize the patient and their families. That was on full display on April 10. Nothing I could say could ever portray it any better than point you to their own recorded testimony. (I really saw this with the testimony of those representing Catholic interests, but I'm not going to post any more. They testified immediately before and after me and you can find that in the full link to the hearing.) Anyway, when Rich speaks, he has a way of commanding everyone's attention and I think you'll see why: 

I think he provides a very good summary here of the issues, the stakes, and who is really protecting life here and I want to end this series of posts with Rich's excellent testimony. 

As always, 

Thanks for reading!