A Texas woman is fighting for her husband’s life after the hospital where he is being treated invoked the state’s controversial 10-Day Rule to remove life support against the patient’s will.
Bill Costea is awake, can hear and communicate, and respond to commands, and reports being in no pain. Regardless, the Baylor Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas notified his wife, Eugenia, of their intention to withdraw life support—including his ventilator, food, water, and blood pressure medication—from her husband.
According to Texas Right to Life, Eugenia was informed by the hospital on May 25 that it believes Bill only has weeks left to live and will remove his treatments unless she can find another facility to take him within ten days.
TRTL explains that relocating a critically ill patient like Bill in just ten days is extremely difficult. Eugenia would have to find a new facility, get Bill’s insurance to approve it, acquire medical transport, and hope that every piece falls into place within the week-and-a-half given.
“Instead of letting a grieving family grieve, the hospital is taking away Eugenia’s decision-making power and attempting to impose death on her husband,” said Texas Right to Life in a statement. “The hospital committee did not argue the treatment is ‘medically inappropriate,’ and the treatments they are planning to remove—his ventilator and blood pressure medication—do not harm him. In fact, removing the ventilator and blood pressure medication would prompt Bill to suffer multi-organ failure. Clearly, the goal is to hasten his death.”
Bill was first hospitalized in April of this year with heart complications, TRTL reports. Although the initial plan was for him to be evaluated by a heart specialist, the hospital determined he was not worthy of care after giving him a short prognosis.
“I love my husband,” Eugenia said of Bill. “Together we have endured so much. I will fight for his life; I know he would do the same for me.”
The couple’s attorney, Emily Cook, told TRTL that the 10-day rule committee convened without even hearing from Bill’s doctors.
“Astoundingly, the doctors who treated Bill and who called for the meeting did not even show up,” Cook stated. “The committee made a decision without even hearing from Bill’s physicians, nor was Eugenia and her attorney given the opportunity to hear directly from the physicians and ask questions. The ‘medical case’ was a brief 12 minute recap by the ethics chair. What exact treatments that were eligible to be withdrawn, no one could give us a concrete answer. Food and water was not even discussed during the meeting, so imagine our surprise when Eugenia’s ten day letter included food and water to be stopped.”
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