Carolyn Jones, the Beaumont woman recovering from a stroke and whose life-sustaining treatment was ceased on Monday by administrators at Memorial Hermann Southwest, continues to hang on. Three other facilities have agreed to accept Mrs. Jones as her family frantically works to secure a transfer and restore care.
Jones is the latest high-profile victim of the so-called 10-Day Rule, a provision within the Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA).
The provision provides doctors the ability to deem life-sustaining treatment futile, which if upheld by an ethics committee comprised of hospital employees, results in a written notice to family members that they have only 10 days to transfer their loved one before treatment ceases.
The intent of the 20-year-old law is to serve as a conflict resolution process between patient families and hospital administrators/doctors over end-of-life issues.
In 2015, TADA was updated during the 84th Legislature to ensure patients continue to receive both food and water to prevent starvation and dehydration from being used to end a patient’s life.
On Monday, Mrs. Jones was taken off her ventilator as part of Memorial Hermann’s decision to implement the 10-Day Rule. Jones has needed the ventilator on occasion to help her breathe.
And yesterday, the hospital apparently did not issue Jones’ dialysis treatment, worrying family members and advocates that if she is not transferred soon, she could die.
Also yesterday, a relevant piece of legislation related to the 10-Day rule passed the Texas Senate in a 22-8 bipartisan vote.
Senate Bill 2089, authored by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), originally aimed to eliminate the 10-Day Rule.
Instead, the new version of the bill extends the transfer time from 10 days to 45 days. This change is intended to buy families more time to facilitate a transfer and navigate bureaucratic red-tape related to insurance approval or government-managed programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
SB 2089 awaits approval in the House. Given existing time constraints as the legislative session winds down, the House has less than a week left to process the Senate bill and move it to the floor should they intend to pass this reform to TADA.
In the meantime, the Jones family has set up a GoFundMe to help facilitate the costs of transferring Carolyn.
That website can be found here.