Stop Virginia From Establishing Death Panels!

by Wesley J. Smith

Nobody covers the field of futile care like Thaddeus Mason Pope. I disagree with him about nearly everything, but he really keeps track of what is going on. 

His Medical Futility blog reports that Virginia’s Joint Commission on Health Care is set to recommend that Virginia adopt the same kind of authoritarian law, as in Texas, that empowers strangers on a bioethics committee to force patients off wanted life-sustaining treatment.

Understand, these patients aren’t forced off of life support because it isn’t or can’t work–but because it is or can, e.g. it is efficacious and keeping the patient alive when that is not what the doctor or the bioethicists want.

In other words, it is a death panel declaring a patient to be futile.

There is still time for comment:

Public comments on the proposed options are due to JCHC by September 28. The comments will be considered by the JCHC at its October 5 meeting.

This is a matter of some urgency. People of the Commonwealth of Virginia, if you don’t want strangers making the most important life or death decisions for you or your loved ones, communicate with the JCHC that you want them to shelve their futile care plan, and instead, find a way forward in the event of treatment disputes that does not involve coercion or death panels.

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