One state’s controversial futile care law is at the center of controversy in a case involving a 29 year old woman who fell into a vegetative state after her breathing tube became disconnected.
The law allows hospitals to remove life support in cases deemed medically futile. The law also requires that a hospital committee review the decision and give the family 10 days notice to find another facility to take the patient. This may mean the hospital could pull the plug before an independent investigation has been conducted as to a medical error.
In this case, the woman was found unresponsive by nurses after the breathing tube of the woman became dislodged. The woman had been on the breathing tube for a month after doctors performed an emergency cesarean section. The cesarean was performed after the woman’s visits to the emergency room for leg pains, chest pains and shortness of breath, were met with repeated answers from hospital staff that “nothing was wrong.” Eventually, the last time the woman came to the hospital complaining of symptoms, a test found blood clots in her leg and an emergency cesarean section was performed.
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