The thing Houston Methodist Hospital officials want most for Christmas is the death of patient Chris Dunn. While most of us are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ who healed the sick, Houston Methodist Hospital grinches are plotting to kill a patient. The former EMT who once worked to save lives now has to plea for his life with hospital administrators who have less compassion than Ebenezer Scrooge.
Religious organizations like the Methodist Episcopal Church
established hospitals like the one in Houston(1919) to provide
medical care regardless of ability to pay.. Now nearly a century
later the people who run Houston Methodist Hospital share
Ebenezer Scrooge's philosophy that those like Chris Dunn who cannot
pay"should die and reduce the surplus populous."
Dunn's case sounds like a dream case for a malpractice attorney.
While waiting for a subsidized insurance card so he could get a
diagnosis for a mass in his pancreas, Dunn
began vomiting blood. On October 12 he was taken to a small
hospital in Pasadena, Texas. The hospital stabilized him
but for unexplained reasons placed him on a ventilator before
transferring him to Houston Methodist Hospital. He remains on a
ventilator even though his lungs were not a problem. Doctors
there told the family that he was in systematic organ failure and
would die within two or three weeks ago. That was two months
ago. Doctors think he is dying of cancer but have
not consulted an oncologist. Blood tests haven't show any
positive markers for cancer.
Recently the hospital handed Dunn's mother, Evelyn Kelly, a notice
invoking the 1999 Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA) which allows a
hospital to arbitrarily ignore the patient's desires and take
actions that can result in the patient's death. She contacted Texas Right to Life
which is helping her to fight for her son's life.
Someone has set up an account
for Chris Dunn so people can donate money to help pay his
medical bills. According to Texas Right to Life the family
plans to challenge the constitutionality of the law which the Texas
Office of Attorney General has indicated it won't
defend. Someone should tell hospital that if they
succeed in killing Dunn and the law is subsequently found
unconstitutional, a politically ambitious prosecutor could charge
them with premeditated murder.
When I read Dunn's story, my first thought was that if I saw this
"plot" in a old movie or tv series episode I would expect the story
would indicate someone was wanting to kill the patient because he
thought the patient had witnessed an illegal act. In a newer
movie, the hospital would probably want the patient's organs for a
transplant. Although I now suspect the hospital just wants to
get rid of a non-paying patient I wish law enforcement would
investigate to make sure there is no criminal activity involved.
One thing I'm certain of is that I wouldn't want to be a patient there
because they don't seem to take medicine seriously. They appear to be
motivated by making money. Healing the sick isn't a high priority. I
also wouldn't want anyone I care about to take a chance on being a