The Corner

Law & the Courts

Texas AG Not Defending Futile Care Law!

Texas has an odious “futile care” law that permits hospital bioethics committees to refuse wanted life-extending treatment to patients based on their view–strangers–of the quality of the person’s life. 

I have long opposed this law–as a writer and a witness in legislative hearings–as invidiously discriminatory and ad hoc health care rationing. 

I have always thought it was unconstitutional as well, as private bioethics committee meetings hardly provide patients due process of law in life and death circumstances.

Now, a patient being subjected to an attempted futile care refusal of treatment at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, has sued, in part seeking a declaration that the law is unconstitutional.

And now, the Attorney General Ken Paxton has issued a letter to the plaintiff’s lawyer stating he will not seek to intervene in the case to defend the law. From his letter of today’s date:

At this time, the Office of the Attorney General of Texas has decided not to seek direct involvement in this case.

Although the Office of the Attorney General of Texas has decided not to intervene at the present time, we respectfully ask that–if there is a ruling on the constitutionality of the statutes in question you please send relative notice and subsequent pleadings to this office.

Similarly, if you later amend that challenge or any party adds a new constitutional challenge, please send those pleadings to this office.

Talk about a vote of no confidence in the law!

If this case succeeds, kiss futile care theory goodbye.  May it be so.

I will be writing more about this case as matters proceed.

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