Lawmakers consider who choses for terminally ill

Current law lets hospital committee decide course of care

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AUSTIN, Texas - Texas lawmakers have heard testimony on who decides the terminally ill patient's fate when the family and doctors disagree.

Witnesses offered differing views to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday on who want to adjust the current rules and others who think the family should always decide.

Under current law, the question of whether to continue treatment goes to a hospital ethics committee if the doctor wants to stop treatment and the family wants it to continue. If the committee agrees with the doctor, the family has 10 days to find another hospital that will treat the patient.

Right-to-life groups are split on whether the family's desires should be paramount. Doctors say providing treatment can be unethical.

A compromise would extend the deadlines for decisions.


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