Archives For medical futility

Kyle Dantzler

I read a post tonight on about this young man named Kyle Dantzler. What a medical nightmare. The post was written by Bobby Schindler whose sister Terry Schiavo was starved to death.

I invite you to consider the situation involving 32-year-old, African-American, Kyle Dantzler.

When Kyle was 29 years of age, he needed kidney and liver transplants. Subsequent to this, in 2013, Kyle was having some health issues and was admitted to a leading university hospital in Philadelphia.

Kyle’s mom, Bridgette Henson who lived near Atlanta, took temporary residence in Philadelphia and would visit her son daily. Soon after he was admitted to the hospital, and without warning, she arrived to find Kyle hooked up to life support machines. Ms. Henson later learned that her son had fully coded. Subsequently, his EEG showed no brain activity and he was diagnosed as “brain dead”. His physicians urged Kyle’s mom to “do the right thing” and remove his ventilator so Kyle would die.

She refused.

To everyone’s surprise, Kyle began moving his arms, and his feet and would turn towards his mother when she called his name. His doctors said it wasn’t “purposeful movement” and wouldn’t chart it because they hadn’t observed his movements themselves. Eventually, proving his doctors wrong, Kyle began to breathe on his own. Then, thanks to his mother’s persistent attention, Kyle began to receive rehabilitation.

Kyle DantzlerYou can read more details of the medical ordeal his family has endured here. 

Nothing I read was surprising because it is happening in hospitals all over the country.

It took a meeting with Ms. Henson’s attorney to persuade this hospital to stop the palliative care team from repeatedly asking her to move Kyle to hospice (again, Kyle is not dying), and to increase his food intake as he clearly shows signs of malnutrition.

Notice his mother’s attorney NOT the so-called ethic committee’s at the hospitals who are paid by the hospital itself.

Medical Futility

The question is why? Why is this young man not getting the proper treatment he needs to help him improve? At least find a way to help treat the horrific pressure sores that are now covering his malnourished body.

Kyle doesn’t lack the will to live. Nor does his heroic mother lack the conviction to fight for her son in the hopes of meaningful rehabilitation. But Kyle’s situation appears grim, despite the heroism and resolve of those closest to him.

Please pray for Kyle and his family, I know what they are going through. I’ve heard the diagnosis no hope. I found his GoFund me page and if you are moved to send some money to help them out. I know how the doctors IGNORED the purposeful movements of Jamie, I saw it and lived it.

Hospitals are making decisions much quicker now than they used to, determining within hours — even hours that someone will have no recovery. Pressuring the family to stop life support. And this is what we are talking about. Our medical rights being eroded. Seems the shift that’s occurred, where decision-making power now is resting in the hands of hospitals and physicians rather than family members. That’s what should frighten us all. No longer do we look out for the best interest of the patient. We are looking out for the best interest of the hospital. That always comes done not bottom line, so I think decisions are being made with cost in mind, and much quicker decisions are being made to end a person’s life than they have been in the past.

it’s just chilling to hear the pressure and how hospitals are just looking at these people and treating them really as an inconvenience and the best them for them would be to kill them.  Bobby Schindler

It is extremely difficult to fight the doctor’s putting pressure on you to give up on your loved one.  It is called a Medical Futility protocol and every hospital has one. Google to see what your hospital has. The University of Michigan Hospital’s Medical Futility Policy policy on Medical Futility, was formulated in 2009.

“The termination of treatment, including life support systems, does not require documentation of death. In appropriate cases, the attending physician may terminate treatment or preclude some or all future treatment with an appropriate written order when the patient is not dead. Cessation of treatment of a patient declared dead does not require specific orders or procedures, nor does it require family consent.” (excerpt from U of M policy)  

Now this is really scary but it happens every day.

“When death is both inevitable and imminent, and where the patient (or representative) concurs, sufficient dosage of narcotic, sedative, or other therapies should be employed to relieve the patient’s pain and suffering, even if doing so might compromise life-sustaining functions. The primary intent of any such therapy is to relieve patient suffering.”

You have a right to know before entering any hospital what their policy on medical futility is and if not ask before going there, or if you are incapacitated have your family ask. Have the discussion NOW with your family.

God bless Bridgette Henson, his mama and his 3 kids they have been enduring this ordeal for two years.

Parents have no rights in hospitals over life and death issues with their children

The kids and Mike and I 1998I am a strong advocate for families having a say in life and death decisions for their loved one’s. Not the government, state or courts.

I’ve heard it all the last month with all the trolls invading the Jahi McMath Facebook group. One comment that keeps coming up is how much it cost to keep her on life-support, why should the hospital pay? Who is paying? If they had to pay, they would let her die.

Hummm…I don’t think so.

I believe they were advocating and did advocate to keep their daughter on life support and give her an opportunity to wake up. Someone sent me the hospital records of the test’s performed on her. If you look at the results, I would have to agree it appears hopeless. Perhaps it is. I don’t know.

Regardless, I support her mother and her families right to make that decision regardless of cost.

We had insurance when my son was in his car accident in Nashville. Our insurance paid it all. But, we still were not allowed to keep him on life support except for one more day. I wish I knew then what I know now, and that is one reason I have utmost respect for Jahi’s family.

I downloaded the court records between Jahi’s mom’s attorney,Christopher Dolan and Children’s Hospital Oakland.

It is stated that this body with its regular pulse, its near-normal warmth and coloration, its continuous output of sweat and urine, is not a body at all but a carefully and expensively maintained corpse.

The Elijah Smith Story

A Ohio man declared brain dead and on life support after a hit-skip crash had his organs harvested under court order, following objections from his family.

After officials at Grant Medical Center notified Lifeline of Ohio of Smith’s wishes, Pamela and Rodney Smith said they didn’t want their son’s organs harvested. On Sunday, Pamela Smith, of the East Side, wrote to Grant and to Lifeline to say that the family did not consent to harvesting his organs because Elijah did not fully understand the choice he had made.

No one understands what they are signing up to be an organ donor.

“We do not want our son to die like this,” she wrote. “We do not want our son to be an organ donor.”

Grant officials deferred to the family and told Lifeline that a court order would be needed to proceed with the organ harvest. Lifeline filed a complaint in Franklin County Probate Court seeking the right to proceed.

“Under the circumstances, no one — not even his family — can undo what he did,” Lifeline’s attorney wrote in a motion.

Ohio law bars anyone other than the donor from amending or revoking an organ donation, Dorrie Dils, Lifeline’s chief clinical executive stated.

This means parents.

The Haleigh Poultre story. 

Haleigh Poutre is a little girl from Massachusetts who almost did not live to her 12th birthday. On September 11, 2005, after years of abuse, Haleigh was beaten nearly to death by her aunt and stepfather. She lay in a vegetative state, unable to breathe on her own, tethered to both a respirator and feeding tube. She immediately came under the control of the state, with a court appointed guardian.

Within eight days of her near fatal beating, the Department of Social Services (DSS), who had virtually ignored more than a dozen reports of physical abuse and neglect over the previous few years, applied to the courts to have her life-support removed with the agreement of Haleigh’s court-appointed lawyer.The request to remove the respirator was approved by Juvenile Court Judge James G. Collins on October 5.

To discuss ending the lives of people because we see no value in their continued existence is reprehensible. When the lawyer for Haleigh’s stepfather requested that the court obtain the medical opinion of a neutral physician, the judge said, “When you have consistent medical opinions, why do you have to find a doctor who might challenge that?”

You have to look for a doctor who might challenge that because a little girl’s life is on the line. When one values something, one is pained by even the possibility of its loss. America has a long history of recognizing that a life need not be pleasant to be deemed valuable. Excerpts from Jewish Content web-site.

Yet she came out of what the courts and doctors said was a “hopeless” situation and is alive today.

Dr. David Evans a retired physician, in response to an article about the topic of brain death wrote this, “Your explicit recognition that brain death is a recent invention for transplant purposes is most welcome and should do much to expose the fallacies and fudging associated with this supposed new form of death, which have been hidden from public and professional view for far too long” (Evans, 2002, para.1).

Doctors that support the establishment of brain death are forced to admit that the evidence for brain death is small and practically non-existent. Dr. Evans points out that the public is not aware of how little the scientific method was used to come to the conclusion of brain death. The public is not aware that a ground breaking phenomenal decision was made by a handful of men in a committee. Why is there a movement to ignore the legitimate concerns about validity of brain death? The answer lies with the result of brain death. US National Library of Medicine. 2011. Brain death: Brain death is a recent invention. NLM  Publication number 1538-42. Retrieved from

Marlese Munoz

Right now a pregnant mother,Marlese Munoz lies in a hospital in Texas, on life support. Why? To keep her unborn child alive and so it can be delivered. Her husband wants her disconnected, but there is a Texas law that says, “A person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment … from a pregnant patient.”

So she lives on in the hopes she will deliver a healthy baby.

My question is why is it OK to keep one mother alive, against her husband’s wishes, as she was only 14 weeks pregnant when she was pronounced brain dead and yet pronounce Jahi brain dead and the hospital want to cease life support. Her husband says she is neurologically dead and wants her removed.

Again, the parents had no choice.

We live in a crazy world. Is there any wonder that the average person is confused about brain death?

How can one person be on life support and her body not deteriorate like they claim Jahi’s is?

Talk to your family, make sure you have a life directive or someone in your will who will make those life decisions for you and do their best to fight the hospital to carry out their wishes.  At least you have documented your wishes.

But, be aware that almost all hospitals have Medical Futility laws so they do not have to continue to treat the patient even if they have a life directive. Contact the hospital in your location and see if what it says

.Michigan has a state law.

May 22, 2013, to require a hospital, health facility or agency that maintains a written policy that encourages or allows a health care professional to withhold or discontinue treatment on the grounds of “medical futility” to provide a copy of the policy to the patient or resident upon request.

Zach McDaniel

Zach McDaniel was a 12-year-old boy, when he was shot in the head. Immediately taken to a hospital in Abilene, TX. Later Zach was transferred to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth on a ventilator.

Upon transfer, Cook Children’s staff claimed that Zach’s prognosis was poor, as part of his brain had been removed during surgery.

They pressured Zach’s parents to sign an organ donation consent form.

One week later, the hospital convened an Ethics Committee, an entity under Texas law that has the power to terminate a patient’s care after 10 days. It was the committee’s opinion that any further care for Zach would be futile, and moved to terminate care. Zach’s parents pleaded for the hospital to give him time to recover. But because of procedural mistakes, the committee did not technically convene, and their ruling didn’t stand.

Zach’s mother, Jessica discovered the doctors had placed a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate)  in Zach’s file. Frantic she called Right to Life of Texas for help.  When Zach’s mother confronted the doctor, he said he did not want to treat her son anymore and she needed to find a place for him.

Jessica moved her son to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.

Doctors at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, slowly weaned him off the sedatives and he is now awake, talking and receiving physical therapy.

Futile Care

In Texas, The Advance Directives Act, allowed a physician to place a “potentially” life-ending DNR in Zach’s chart without the parents consent or notice.

This is how the Texas law, seen as a model by many futilitarians, works: Under the Texas Health and Safety Code, if the physician disagrees with a patient’s decision to receive treatment, he or she can take it to the hospital bioethics committee. A hearing is convened at which all interested parties explain why they want or don’t want treatment to continue.

If the committee decides to refuse treatment, it is determinative. Even if the family finds another doctor willing to provide the treatment, it can’t be done in that hospital. At that point, the patient/family has a mere ten days to find another hospital willing to take the patient, after which, according to the statute, “the physician and health care facility are not obligated to provide life-sustaining treatment.”

In practical terms, that’s a death sentence. Medical futility care is a value judgement. Medical futility is based on hospitals and doctors being able to decide who they will treat. Trust me quality of life vs life is a judgement.

In Zach McDaniel’s case, he was sent to another hospital, weaned off sedatives and is alive and well.

Take a few minutes and google or call your local hospital if they have a “futile care policy or protocol”.

U of M hospital Here is the University of Michigan Hospital’s policy on Medical Futility, formed in 2009.

If you can find your state or hospitals futile care policy, please leave it in the comments below.

You have a right to know before entering any hospital.