[FoRK] Fudging the facts on Bush's end-of-life record

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Tue Mar 22 17:14:25 PST 2005

Foolish inconsistency and all that...  Godel...  you know the score.



Fudging the facts on Bush's end-of-life record

The Bush White House values nothing more than consistency. Other  
politicians can flip this way and flop that way, but George W. Bush  
never errs, never wavers and always stays the course -- or at least  
that's what the administration would have you believe.

  How else can we explain Scott McClellan's deceitful spin on the Texas  
futile care statute then-Gov. George W. Bush signed into law in 1999?  
As we noted yesterday, the 1999 measure allowed hospitals in Texas to  
pull the plug on patients when further care would be futile --  
regardless of the desires of the patient or his family. Asked yesterday  
whether Bush's signature on that bill conflicted with his role in the  
Terri Schiavo case, McClellan snapped back: "That's absolutely  
incorrect. The legislation he signed is consistent with his views. You  
know, this is a complex case and I don't think such uninformed  
accusations offer any constructive ways to address this matter."

  In Bush's defense, the bill he signed in 1999 was friendlier to the  
"pro-life" interests than a version he had vetoed previously. In the  
1999 iteration of the legislation, doctors seeking to cease futile  
life-support measures have to get the approval of a hospital ethics  
committee, give the patient's family 10 days of notice and help the  
family, if the family so desires, to find another medical facility that  
would continue the life support the doctors wished to end. Presumably,  
that's what McClellan meant when he said yesterday that the 1999 law  
"provided new protections for patients."

  But when McClellan said the 1999 legislation "was there to help ensure  
that actions were being taken that were in accordance with the wishes  
of the patient or the patient's family," he crossed the line from fact  
to fantasy. The law provides some safeguards to patients and their  
families, but it ultimately leaves the life-or-death decision in the  
hands of the medical community. Wanda Hudson learned about that first  
hand last week, when -- over her objections but in compliance with the  
1999 law -- doctors removed a breathing tube from her six-month-old  
baby. The child died a few minutes later.

  -- Tim Grieve

  [14:26 EST, March 22, 2005]

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