Infant Must Leave Hospital To Stay Alive
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 7, 2006
DALLAS, TEXAS--An 11-month-old boy was expected to be transferred this week from a Dallas hospital to a long-term pediatric nursing facility -- in an effort to spare his life.
Daniel Cullen II has relied on a breathing tube inserted through his trachea since he was born prematurely. In April, he was brought to Children's Medical Center in Dallas after he experienced severe brain damage when he reportedly pulled out his own breathing tube.
The hospital's medical ethics board ruled in early May that it was 'futile' to keep the baby on life support, and scheduled a date to withdraw life-sustaining treatment, which meant he would likely die.
Under the Texas Advance Directives Act, commonly known as the "Texas Futile Care Law", which Governor George W. Bush signed into law in 1999, hospitals can refuse such treatment for a patient if doctors believe it would be useless to try to keep the person alive -- even if this would go against the wishes of the patient and family members.
Daniel's mother, Dixie Belcher, successfully sought a court order to keep the hospital from ending her son's life until she could find another facility that would care for him.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the Truman W. Smith Children's Care Center in Gladewater, about 130 miles east of Dallas, agreed in late June to accept the infant.
"I'm very happy," Belcher, 37, told the Dallas Morning News. "I know he's going to get the treatment he really needs . . . He needs someone with him 24/7 now."
The case is complicated by the fact that the state took over custody of Daniel after child welfare workers determined that neglectful supervision might have contributed to his accident.
In March of 2005, staff at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston removed a feeding tube that had kept 5-month-old Sun Hudson alive -- even though his mother and legal guardian, Wanda Hudson, objected. The boy, who had been diagnosed with thanatophoric dysplasia, was the first person in the state to die under the law.
"Infant on life support to be transferred" (Dallas Morning News)
"Disability Advocates Say Texas 'Futile Care' Law Should Be Euthanized" (Not Dead Yet)