A woman in Texas was forced off of life support despite the wishes of her family.
In November 2018, Carolyn Jones, 61, was taken to Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital in Houston, Texas for treatment for a stroke she suffered the year before.
On May 3, the Jones family was notified that the hospital’s ethics committee made a decision to remove Jones from life support. The decision was grounded on Texas’ Advance Directives Act which allows hospitals to remove patients from life support 10 days after giving the family a written notice. In the 10-day period, families may transfer their loved one to an alternative facility to receive treatment but if they are not successful, a doctor can terminate treatment.
According to Click2Houston, the Jones family found a new facility for Jones but could not afford the costs of the facility.
On May 13 at 2:00 p.m., Jones was removed from her ventilator, but to the surprise of the doctors and her family, she continued to breathe. As of Tuesday afternoon, she is awake and has been breathing on her own for over 24 hours.
According to the family, the hospital has refused to give Jones any other life-saving measures including her having respiratory secretions suctioned. The family also says the hospital plans to end Jones’ dialysis treatment which she received before having a stroke.
In an interview with The Daily Wire, Kina, Jones’ daughter, said when the hospital staff took her mother off life support, “they pulled her off and left… no doctor came in to check her vitals or anything. They said it was our responsibility to suction her,” Kina added.
“Because my mom did not pass away, they are pulling away other things so she does pass away. I am watching my mom fight for her life; this is murder,” Kinda said.
Kina pointed out that her mother is not only breathing, but she also appears to be responsive.
“She will look at you when you say her name and she will follow you with her eyes,” Kina said.
In a video on pro-life advocate Mark Lee Dickson’s Facebook, Kina asked her mother to “give me another yawn,” which Jones does a few seconds later.
Of her father, Kina said he is remaining strong for the family.
“My father is strong,” Kina said. “He loves my mom very very much so he is still fighting.”
The family’s lawyer, Emily Cook, said that the family is trying to move Jones to a different facility but is finding difficulty with communication between the hospital and an ambulance service.
“We are trying to get her into another care facility,” Cook said. “At first, this morning, we were trying to get the hospital to give her dialysis but they refused to provide that treatment. Now, we are trying to get her out of the hospital by the end of the day.”
Cook also said that Jones is receiving food and water due to a law that was passed in 2015 to remove artificial nutrition and hydration from the list of life-sustaining treatments that could be removed under Texas’ Advance Directives Act.
“Every Texan for any reason if you find yourself in a hospital here— event if you have a medical power of attorney— if the hospital disagrees with your request for life-sustaining treatment to continue, they can utilize the 10-day-rule,” Cook added. “The law does not require the hospital to give you a reason.”
Cook is affiliated with Texas Right to Life, a pro-life organization that is currently lobbying the state legislature to remove the 10-day-rule with a new bill: SB 2089.
“Unfortunately there are only two weeks left in the session and [the Texas legislature] only meets once every two years,” Cook said. “So the legislature has to pass this bill now or they have to wait two more years unless the governor calls a special session. These bills have been in the legislature for several sessions in a row.”
On Tuesday afternoon, SB 2089 passed the Texas Senate.
In the interview, Kina said she is now advocating for the law to pass to protect more patients on life support.
“Call your representatives, anyone you can call, and call them. This is inhumane what we have to go through. My mom is breathing on her own and they are still trying to kill her,” Kina said. “They won’t understand the severity of this until it happens to them.”