Sunday, November 16, 2003

Schiavo case is prompting experts to ask: Could it happen in my state?

The Stamford (Ct.) Advocate reports today that an expert on living wills believes Connecticut's living will law is too narrow and wouldn't necessarily protect against the nightmare scenario that is presently playing itself out in Florida. Offhand, Connecticut's doesn't sound that different than Texas' law, except that the expert believes a patient is not in a terminal condition if there's even a 0.1% chance of survival. That's a pretty useless standard, if true, but it's not how Ct. Stat. ยง 19a-570 (requires WestLaw subscription) defines "terminal condition." Our own law in Texas clearly gives the spouse of an incompetent patient with no advance directive the authority to consent to the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, including artificial nutrition and hydration, once the patient is diagnosed as having a terminal or irreversible condition. Permanent unconsciousness clearly qualifies as the latter.
posted by tommayo, 12:42 PM

Health care law (including public health law, medical ethics, and life sciences), with digressions into constitutional law, poetry, and other things that matter