Thursday, May 16, 2019

UPDATED AGAIN 5.26.19: Mrs. Jones Has Been Transferred; Lessons to Be Learned from This Incident

LATEST UPDATE OF 5.26.19: Mrs. Jones continues to do well and make progress. With this in mind, consider what we have learned from this incident. See highlight below.


Prior post & updates:

See below for update & a call to action! 

From L-R: Mark Lee Dickson, Emily Cook, Mr. Jones, Kim Schwartz

Today is a great day!!!! Mrs. Jones was transported via private ambulance at Texas Right to Life's expense and will receive care at a long-term care facility.

Emily Cook, an excellent lawyer, someone I count as a friend, and who has been very much on the frontlines of this effort to save Mrs. Jones as the family's attorney posted this today on Facebook:

Praise Jesus. Thank you, Lord. God works in amazing ways. The rest of this post is worth the long read. It’s been a night & I’m glad to finally share this news.  
Carolyn Jones has left Memorial Hermann SW. and is receiving treatment at another Houston hospital! Really, in the middle of the night, she was taken by private ambulance to a different hospital’s ER. (I also have a new skill if you ever need a private ambulance 😁). It was our last hope, a Hail Mary. MH stood by their decision to refuse dialysis to Carolyn; dialysis treatment predating the stroke that landed Carolyn here in the first place. We have a long term facility in the works, but the paperwork had not been finished. Carolyn had been without dialysis since Saturday; she simply could not go one more day. No amount of money, no number of legislators calling the hospital had changed the hospital’s position. 
It was scary. And it was risky. But God showed up. I was worried about how would we know no funny business clinically would happen as we tried to move her? God brought a nurse practitioner as an ally, someone I had never met. I was worried about reception to our arrival at the ER. God brought the most sympathetic personnel to us.  
Amazingly, the ER agreed she should have dialysis. However, they were full. They instead found ANOTHER facility willing to accept her and give the dialysis. A legit transfer, not discharge and showing up to an ER. So that’s TWO facilities who disagreed that Carolyn’s life was not worth respecting. 
As I sat in her room, watching her move her head from family member to family member as they talked, to responding to commands, the urgency to save her only intensified.  
We still have the paperwork and funding to go through to get her to a long term facility pending Medicaid approval. But this picture on the left, that was the first page of my devotional this morning. How timely is our God?! ❤️ ❤️
Mark Lee Dickson and I have assisted each other in cases before, but it was always digital; phone calls, texts, messages. But he came to Houston and jumped into gear. And you all get to see the work Kim Schwartz does 😄
This is why I defend Texas Right to Life so vehemently. From the intern who ran to bring very tired family members a round of coffee, to our fearless President having zero qualms about calling an elected official at midnight when we thought we might have a problem at the ER. THIS is why Texas Right To Life is such a great organization; it’s the people. We pray first, and then get to work.  
&& also our families. Poor baby Andrew hasn’t seen much of his momma for a full week and he’s really showing “mommy withdrawals.”  
Meanwhile, my ER RN sister is glad we no longer share the same last name 😆😆 
Look, we are systemically encountering a culture that does not respect the intrinsic dignity of human Life. And as you see, such a deficit can impact areas of your life you never even considered. Folks should pass away when God calls us home; not by the hand of man.  
Please continue to support the Jones family by donating at the link below, demand lawmakers change the Ten Day Rule and pray for a successful transfer to the long term care facility.  

Let us rejoice and thank God for his great blessings and intervention. Many have given in response to the fundraisers and Texas Right to Life, especially Emily and Kim (another wonderful, dedicated  person) along with Mark Lee Dickson (who is also quite dedicated and who I must meet soon), have worked overtime to make this happen. Prayers have been answered - and I know many of us were praying! Thank you! 

Let's give thanks unto the Lord but let us learn from this. There are always lessons to be learned. 

In my prior post, I talked about why you cannot trust the Usual Suspects who advocate for TADA and against reform to it, including SB 2089, and gave some insight from the viewpoint of another author as to what makes them tick. These organizations ("the Usual Suspects") include Texas Alliance for Life ("TAL") and the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops ("TCCB") (with the notable exception of Bishop Emeritus Gracida) among a few others. In addition, I've posted at great length about why any of their arguments or justifications for support of this law/opposition to reforms are without merit and/or can be addressed by some means short of killing off the patient against their will by withdrawing their life-sustaining treatment.

But today, we have yet more evidence - if you need it - as to why you cannot listen to those who advocate for involuntary passive euthanasia no matter what their organizations are named or what their mission statements claim. TAL and its allies (intended) have consistently been wrong about the Carolyn Jones case - the latest high profile victim of TADA - and their credibility and the credibility of all they speak for should be firmly in shambles. Ignore them and the TCCB who has claimed that TAL speaks for them. Supporters of TADA made up facts or used assumptions or wishful thinking as to what they wanted the case to be to justify this heinous - in my opinion, it should be criminal - conduct on the part of Memorial Hermann (read on, their disgusting conduct just got worse). They put this disinformation and misinformation out on social media to try to kill SB 2089 which would prevent situations like this from happening.  

There was absolutely no justification for subjecting this woman to involuntary passive euthanasia; not that there ever is; but even by the Usual Suspects' justifications, there was none. There was no assertion that the care was ineffective or harming her. The truth is, it was working, that's why they wanted to withdraw it. And, the truth is, this woman was not at death's door. She survived without her ventilator from Monday at 2 p.m. until the wee hours of this morning. She survived without dialysis from last Saturday. 

There was to my knowledge - as usual - no assertion that any doctor's conscience was pricked by continuing care. Even if it was, I've always said the solution is transferring the patient, not killing her. I've always said that there are other doctors who would feel differently because not all doctors have the same conscience formation (some commit abortions, after all.) At least three different facilities had agreed to take her but money was the obstacle, not conscience. The proponents of TADA and opponents of any reforms to it, including SB 2089, posit that no such doctors can be found with different consciences (if they answer this question directly; usually they ignore it). Oh, really? Well, that's not true here - and it's not been true in other cases where transfers have been successful. That's a false argument, which our writer in my last post took to task as well. 

Note also how the care at the other facilities was provided immediately and note the vastly different attitude of the medical professionals there. Yes, it is true that not all medical professionals have the same conscience formation. I've long said there are some in the medical profession who simply have a eugenicist and euthanasia mindset. They want to decide whose lives are worth of living and who should be put down like a dog because they have no quality of life in these "professionals'" judgment. What a horrendous, dehumanizing, elitist viewpoint. I'll not have it! You shouldn't either. But it's in our law and supported by those who claim to be medical professionals, pro-life leaders, and clergy from the Roman Catholic Church. It's simply mind-boggling. More than that, it's dangerous to every Texan. 

Note - and I think this is very important - that TRTL offered to private pay a dialysis treatment and Memorial Hermann refused. Yet two more facilities last night concluded immediately that this woman needed emergency dialysis. 

So what are we to conclude; what have we learned here? 
That the doctor(s) who went to the medical ethics committed at MH were wrong that Mrs. Jones was futile or someone who should not be treated? Yes. That the medical ethics committee was also wrong in rubber stamping that decision? Yes. That this procedure does not yield infallible results? Absolutely. That maybe there's a bit of an outcome based decision-making process? That's fair. That once they make a decision, that even when it appears that they are wrong, we can't count on them to reverse course and do the right thing even when a life hangs in the balance? I think the facts here speak for themselves. That maybe there should be a longer timeframe so that mistakes like this are not made with more Texans? No doubt about it. That maybe if there was some due process in the law, a check and balance, that hospitals might be more careful and mistakes would not happen? Of course, that's why we have due process in the law when it comes to criminals. It should be here for the ill and disabled as well. 
I want to clarify a few things that have been flying around out there as well. Some were said by supporters of the Usual Suspects, some by people clearly in support of offing the ill or disabled prematurely, some...I can't even speculate as to their motives. 

It was claimed before by a pro-TADA individual last Sunday, a former board member of TAL, that the hospital was not going to withdraw care at all, despite the letter having already been given to the Jones family. Where this person got that I'll never know because MH said they were and then they did. And, when it became clear that she was not going to die, MH removed more care. And when Mrs. Jones continued to live, they continued to refuse to provide care. When more time went by without her receiving dialysis and TRTL offered to private pay a session, MH refused. This is how this law works. It simply cannot be justified or supported. 

It was also not true that the Jones family was refusing to transfer as had been speculated in particular by the same pro-TADA/pro-euthanasia active who spouted this all over the internet, again a former board member of TAL, which then promoted these inaccurate (I'll be charitable in a way that she was not to the Jones') writings on its Facebook page (and alleges it was to push an anti-life agenda).

From that blog post I don't find fit to link to:

That same person was claiming that Mrs. Jones was weaned off her vent based on her husband's testimony in favor of SB 2089 back in April. But, as you know, medical conditions can and do change. It was not accurate to insinuate that it was a lie to say that she was on a ventilator or to insinuate she had been permanently weaned and never needed the ventilator at all. MH said they were going to remove her vent as part of the withdrawal of her life-sustaining care. That's what they did. Obviously, if it was to be removed, she had not been weaned off of it permanently and needed it, right? 

It was also speculated by some that maybe this story was made up, a political ploy to serve TRTL's purposes, because doesn't Medicare have unlimited money for cases like this? Well, as it turns out Medicare is not covering this (those funds can run out, you know). Obviously, if there had been funding, she'd have been transferred already! Anyway, it should go without saying that each case has different facts and if you don't have all the information, it is dangerous to draw your own politically motivated conclusions as if you have some expertise in this case even if you did manage to get an MD. Again, beware of such people. Their politics and euthanasia promotion make them un-credible. The Jones' have not been approved for Medicaid, as the news has reported, and as their attorney has stated above. I think it is common knowledge that that takes time, but that has also been in the news.

I want you all to notice also that there is yet more proof that Mrs. Jones is responding to her family. I will not agree that even an unconscious patient should have their life-sustaining care withdrawn against their or their family's will, but I have now twice in the last few years seen highly publicized cases where the intent was to use TADA on a conscious patient asking for care to be continued and the pro-TADA forces justified the usage of the law (and in this case, went so far as to blame the family and accuse them of refusing to transfer their patient!), including the Usual Suspects. Surely, when the patient is conscious and the care is not doing them harm, but actually working, that would make even some sympathetic to euthanasia pause. Apparently not. That should tell you all you need to know. 

The bottom line is that Texas Right to Life - the only real pro-life organization in this state and the only one that helps families navigate this process as you can see from above - worked overtime to get this woman to safety and proper care and even provided funding! Remember, under the statute, families are responsible for covering the cost of transferring their patient. (See Sec. 166.052(a)(4) of the Texas Health & Safety Code, where TADA is found.)

TAL, the TCCB, and others, opposed SB 2089 which would prevent this from happening to other families. Did you see them raise funds for Mrs. Jones? I did not. Did the Usual Suspects put aside their differences with TRTL and work together to help TRTL help this family? But TAL is pro-life. The TCCB is a Catholic organization and the RCC has taught that we are to help the poor and the least among us. What gives? What gives indeedBy their fruits, you will know them. All of them.

Remember, the Usual Suspects are always going on about how they are trying to fix the law they support and don't want weakened (you see the inconsistency don't you?) and it's the unreasonable people at TRTL that get in the way. That's absurd! Don't believe them. 

By the way, have you seen them supporting SB 2089 which has been amended to 45 days - remember they claimed their biggest issue was "indefinite" treatment in SB 2089? Yeah, I didn't think so. Neither have I.  

I think we know who is really pushing the anti-life agenda

We can't split the baby when it comes to abortion legislation and we can't split the ill, disabled, and elderly when it comes to TADA legislation. There is only so far compromise can go before too many lives are still lost and then what's the point? It's fine to say "Can't we all get along?" in an accusatory way. But when the rubber meets the road, who's really putting their time, money, and talents where their mouths are to help those who are victimized? You can see that here clearly. By their fruits, you will know them. All of them.

Thanks to everyone who donated, prayed, and helped spread the word. This is what real pro-life activism and Christianity is all about...helping the least among us. Remember, Texas Right to Life depends on donations - that's where this money comes from. So, please, consider directing regular donations to them so they have what they need to keep saving lives.  

Let's be grateful for today but the work here is not done. There are others who will be subjected to this law if it is not changed. The time is now. SB 2089 has still not been scheduled for a floor vote in the House. Let us continue to pray and please do contact your State Representatives and ask them to support SB 2089 and SB 1033 (the PreBorn Non-Discrimination Act). It's easy if you use this form

Thanks for reading!

UPDATE: Texas Alliance for Life has now officially come out against SB 2089 as it exists in the House, that is, the amended version that gives patients 45 days to find a new facility before a hospital may legally withdraw their life-sustaining care against their will. This is not surpassing or shocking to me, but you need to see that even in light of the Jones debacle - which should, if nothing else has - show you how horrendous this law is in practice, they cannot change positions to a truly pro-life one. 

TAL is not a pro-life organization. It supports euthanasia - involuntary euthanasia. Do not listen to it or its leader or anyone associated with it. Oppose them. 

The only harm that was coming to Mrs. Jones was the utilization of this law by Memorial Hermann. It is unconscionable that an organization that proclaims itself pro-life would justify what was going on there and oppose the bill that would prevent it from happening to others. 

Let me be clear about something: 


I'd ask you to call the members of the Calendars Committee who are the ones who decide what gets a floor vote. Call the following and ask them to set SB 2089 (and SB 1033) for a vote on the House floor immediately. Be truly pro-life. 

Thanks for reading this update!