By: JAMIE STENGLE

Lawmakers, attorneys, doctors, and anti-abortion groups were among those participating in a task force that helped craft the law. Among those was Texas Alliance for Life, a group that opposes abortion except to save the mother’s life and also opposes euthanasia.

Joe Pojman, the group’s executive director, says they “strongly support” the law’s dispute resolution process. He says the law balances the family’s autonomy with doctors’ rights not to give interventions that cause harm or suffering.

By: Renzo Downey

Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life, one of the organizations in a coalition that opposed SB 2089 — which also includes the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops — said the coalition was not consulted on the change to 45 days and had not yet met to discuss that alteration. However, the Alliance for Life appreciated Lucio’s amendment, he said.

By: Audrey Morton

Texas Alliance for Life Executive Director Dr. Joe Pojman said the goal of the current law is to encourage communication between the doctor and patient or patient’s family when the patient is terminally ill.

“We do not believe that the law should require that a doctor be forced to provide an intervention that will actually harm the patient,” said Pojman.

He said families could demand a medical intervention could actually harm the patient.

“In these very rare cases, the goal of this law is to get doctors and patients and their families talking together. And, most of the time, that works very well,” said Pojman.

By: Audrey Morton

Texas Alliance for Life Executive Director Joe Pojman said while d ones might want to interventions to be done to save the patient’s life, the opposite could happen.

“The purpose of this is so that no physician is forced by law to provide interventions that will harm or possibly hasten the death of a patient,” said Pojman.

He said the goal of the law is to get patients, families and doctors talking about end of life decisions.

Pojman said the law is very rarely used, but is to protect the conscious of medical providers.

“The district court in Houston dismissed the case because the mother really didn’t have a case that could be brought,” said Pojman.

He said multiple pro-life groups, religious organizations and disability rights groups support the law.

By: Audrey Morton

The controversial Texas Advance Directives Act, passed in 1999, allows doctors in Texas to stop life-sustaining treatment, after a 10-day waiting period, even over the wishes of the patient’s family.

Texas Alliance for Life’s Executive Director Dr. Joe Pojman said they, and other legitimate pro-life organizations, do accept the concept of brain death.

“So sad for this family. It’s a tragic case. They’re doing everything they can, understandably, to try to help their daughter. The simple reality is that the daughter is no longer with us. And, there’s nothing that can be done to change that,” said Pojman. “The family is struggling to find a solution. But, the reality is this poor girl, Peyton, is clinically, medically and legally dead.”

Reportedly, than two dozen facilities were asked to take her, but have refused.

“Death, including brain death, is a condition that everyone will eventually reach. We are very sad for Payton’s family who are no doubt experiencing immense grief,” said Pojman.

By: Todd Ackerman

In a victory for Texas’ medical community, a Harris County state district judge Friday rejected a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state law that allows doctors to withdraw life-sustaining treatment against the wishes of the patient or guardian.

Judge Bill Burke said it would be “a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water” to repeal the controversial 1999 law, enacted in response to doctors’ push to eliminate care they believe prolongs suffering in terminal patients. The law, which is unique to Texas, has drawn criticism from some families who say it gives doctors too much power.
“It would be a big mistake to throw out a statute in place for nearly 20 years that seems to be working pretty well,” Burke said in rejecting the request for summary judgment declaring the law unconstitutional. “If you think the law doesn’t provide sufficient protection for patients, go to the Legislature to remedy it.”

The ruling was applauded by the Texas Medical Association, which was part of a broad coalition of groups who together filed a motion in support of the law. The groups included Texas Alliance For Life, the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, the Coalition of Texans With Disabilities and the Texas Alliance for Patient Access.