Families plead to change Texas Advance Directives Act 10-Day Rule

The full Texas Senate could hear a bill that would repeal the current 10-day rule, which is part of the Texas Directives Act.

The Texas Senate Committee on Health and Human Services heard testimony on Senate Bill 2089 by Senator Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) on Wednesday.

Current Texas law has a dispute resolution process for end of life care.

But not all pro-life or disabilities groups agree.

Texas Alliance for Life Executive Director Dr. Joe Pojman said the goal of the current law is to encourage communication between the doctor and patient or patient's family when the patient is terminally ill.

"We do not believe that the law should require that a doctor be forced to provide an intervention that will actually harm the patient," said Pojman.

He said families could demand a medical intervention could actually harm the patient.

"In these very rare cases, the goal of this law is to get doctors and patients and their families talking together. And, most of the time, that works very well," said Pojman.

Texas Right to Life Legislative Associate Rebecca Parma said they want to remove a 10-day limit for the patient and hospital to work together.

"To transfer a patient to a facility that will continue providing that care without any sort of arbitrary time limit or countdown," Parma said.

She said it's worked well in the other 11 states that have this.

"We heard from over 100 people in support of this reform because they've been victimized by this law," Parma said.

Family after family pleaded with the committee to end the 10-Day Rule, sharing hours of testimony of their loved ones being hastened to their deaths against their will. 

Pojman said if the law changes it would not allow the doctor to help the family find an alternative willing provider.

The bill has failed to become law in the past.

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