Law requires woman to be removed from ventilator against family's wishes

"My mother is a loving woman. She lived and breathed her husband and lived and breathed her only child," said Takina Jones as she stood outside Memorial Hermann Southwest.

 And now it looks like Carolyn Jones is breathing her last breaths. This comes after the hospital removed her from the ventilator.

Jones had a stroke back in 2017 and has been living in various heath care facilities ever since. She's also on dialysis.

"My wife is quilts of being sick too long. That's where we're at. We're 45 minutes away from my wife being taken away for that reason," said her husband, Donald.

But it's legal. Her doctors and a board at the hospital made the decision as is their right under a law passed by then Governor George W. Bush in 1999.

It calls for a 10-day written notice of the decision. There have been several attempts to reform the law-and-one, and Senate Bill 2089 would appeal it. But her daughter doubts it will happen, unless a lawmaker ends up in the same situation.

"For them to pass that bill to abolish that 10-day rule, it may need to. I pray that it doesn't happen, but until they understand and they're in our shoes, they'll never understand," said her daughter, Takina.

They've found another faculty to take her, but at roughly $1,000 a day, it's simply too expensive and they don't have time to apply for Medicaid. The 10-day law has now come and gone, and so has her time on the ventilator.

"That's the law. It's not a good law. It's what the hospital said. They're the judge and the jury in this situation," said Donald, before he and the rest of the gathered family and friends went back into the hospital to be with Carolyn.

Memorial Hermann released the following statement following the decision:

“Due to patient privacy laws, and out of respect for our patients and their families, we are unable to comment on specific patient cases. As a health system, we are committed to delivering patient-centered care and respecting the rights of our patients and their loved ones. We understand how painful it can be when difficult medical decisions must be made and our hearts go out to families in these circumstances. End-of-life decisions are made by physicians after careful and thorough consultation with patients, their families, the healthcare team, and a medical ethics committee. The decision-making process is outlined in Texas law and can take many months. The law provides a tool to balance the tough choice between carrying out patients’ and families' wishes and the ethical duty not to increase or prolong patients’ suffering. We are committed to providing compassionate care that follows the standards of evidence-based medicine and best practices. We understand that these decisions are never easy, but we follow Texas law, as written, and our ultimate goal is always to make medical decisions that promote comfort, compassion and dignity for our patients.”

Jones was still breathing at last check.