The hospital’s move to take Bill off of his life support is legal under the state’s “10-day rule,” a provision under the Texas Advance Directives Act that allows doctors to withdraw treatment from the patient 10 days after notifying the family.
According to Texas Right to Life (TRTL), a pro-life organization that is assisting the Costeas, Bill was hospitalized in mid-April because of heart complications.
“I love my husband,” says Eugenia in a TRTL press release. “Together we have endured so much. I will fight for his life; I know he would do the same for me.”
Notably, the pro-life organization said that the hospital did not argue in their decision that Bill’s current life-sustaining treatment is “medically inappropriate” — something usually argued by doctors when invoking the 10-day rule.
“In fact, removing the ventilator and blood pressure medication would prompt Bill to suffer multi-organ failure,” said TRTL.
Though Bill is in critical condition and the hospital asserts that he may only live for a few more weeks, TRTL says that he is “awake, communicates, nods to questions, follows some commands, and reports no pain.”
The hospital notified the family of the decision to end Bill’s treatment on Tuesday, meaning that unless the hospital reverses course or transfers him to a medical facility that will continue treatment, his last day on life support will be June 4.
“While we are not able to speak about an individual’s case due to privacy laws, we can tell you that in these situations, a multidisciplinary team of clinicians works together to assess and evaluate all patients and make treatment plans,” said Baylor Scott & White Health in a statement to The Texan.
“When end-of-life discussions are determined to be appropriate, our organization works closely with each patient’s family to determine the best interest for the patient given the specific circumstances. These are often challenging times for families, and our caring clinicians work dutifully to support them during this time.”
Legislation filed in the Texas Senate and a companion bill filed in the state House to reform the 10-day rule were both approved by committees in both chambers, but never voted on by the whole of either body.
Update: This article was updated to include a statement from Baylor Scott & White.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.