Law would force hospitals to say when care won’t be given

Right to Life Michigan supports measure that would base decisions on cost of care

By Robin Erb

Detroit Free Press


LANSING — A proposed state law would force hospitals to be up front with patients and loved ones when doctors believe treatment is medically futile.

Ed Rivet, legislative liaison with Right to Life Michigan, testified Tuesday in support of the legislation. Afterwards, he said health care reform will force health care systems to make decisions more heavily based on costs of care, so providers must be up front about what care they will and will not provide, whether it’s for a child with a potentially fatal genetic defect or a senior citizen facing end-of-life care.

The legislation sidesteps the thornier issue of sorting out procedures in times when families who want to do everything possible to save a loved one confront doctors who feel they’ve exhausted treatment options. But the law would allow doctors to be more up front with a hospital policy that prohibits them from treating a patient, Rivet said.

Brad Smith said his family is not trying to force doctors to change their minds about what they feel is medically futile.

“We’ve had people tell us that we should just let (patients) die, even with (them) sitting there smiling. We aren’t trying to change those people. I don’t think we could change them anyway,” Smith said. “We just want transparency.”

Jesi Smith’s voice cracked recalling her conversations with doctors, and legislators intermittently glanced at her fidgeting daughter, sitting nearby with her four brothers and sisters.

Smith, whose daughter Faith has Trisomy 18, a disorder caused by a genetic mutation that kills most of the children born with it, said she just wants to know immediately what policies guide which doctors.

“I will find that place. I will find the people who will treat her,” she said.


Posted by Tribune News Services

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