Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Terry Read Comments on the Death of His Father and the Living Will

Over at Medic Madness, Terry Read responds to some of my comments on the handling of his father’s death. Since when is it not our responsibility?

Rogue Medic,
By your definition of “unreliable”, all witnesses would be unreliable. Military people being interviewed on the History Channel about a battle could not be trusted.

All witnesses are unreliable.

It is only by comparing the different descriptions of the same events that we are able to determine what is closest to the truth.

Take a look at the Rashomon effect. The story and film, Rashomon, are 94 years old and 61 years old, respectively. This is not something new. Even ancient Solomon had a memorable way for evaluating the accuracy of witness accounts. Solomon’s sword is memorable, but rarely helpful.

Witnesses are unreliable.

Believe me, I know what happened.

This is what I often hear as justification for not examining facts. Perhaps with an offer to buy something that is too good to be true.

So does the San Antonio Fire Department. That is why they were so reluctant to cooperate with the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) in the investigation.

Please provide some evidence that they were reluctant to cooperate.

In defending the DSHS decision to clear the Fire Department and the Paramedics, The State EMS director said the “policies are locally determined”. Representative Zerwas said “If that is the policy, that concerns me more”.

Yet the law the Texas Legislature passed does nothing that would change what happened.

EMS called medical command. EMS would still call medical command for orders to discontinue CPR in the case of anything that is not a Texas Prehospital DNR. This is the same as the rules in Pennsylvania, which need to be overhauled to prevent patients from being treated against their will.

Representative Susan King got the state EMS director to admit that the person at the other end of the phone may not even be a doctor.

Please provide some documentation to support that claim. If any such statement was actually made, the context in which it was made.

When asked about the paramedics stating that it would be against the law to continue, the state EMS Director said, “that was a misunderstanding”

It may be against EMS policies to continue, but not against criminal law. Did anyone actually state this? If someone did say this, in what context was that statement made?

Also, if you actually listened to my story, you would know that I have stated all along that the lead paramedic went into the other room and got on the phone with someone. Then came out and said “Stop!”. So I never claimed that the paramedics were not in contact with another party. But the lead paramedic did have a key role in interpreting by reading the Living Will over the phone. And obviously he did not read the entire Living Will. Have you gone to the WOAI website to read the Living Will in its entirety?

I have read the full story. I have only seen what you put in the comments. I have not seen the actual document anywhere.

You have demonstrated that you are clearly the one who is unreliable. You were asking why I did not produce the Living Will when I had posted the Living Will on the WOAI website just a couple of days after the story. If you read the Living Will, you will clearly see that the Living Will was not followed.

There is no document posted on the web site, only a comment in which you state that what you are copying is the living will.

It is interesting that you now appear to recognize that a living will is not a will.

Not trusting all of the comments on a story does not make me unreliable. Until I have seen the document, I have not seen the document. You are the one with connections to WOAI. Get them to post it.

That fact alone puts the weight of the evidence on my side.

I could claim that your reluctance to post the actual document does exactly the opposite, but I’ll wait until I can see the actual document.

It is fascinating that when I testified before Committees in both the Texas House and Senate, no one questioned my story.

They are politicians. Their job is to create the impression of reacting to a public interest story.

But you do.

I am not a politician.

I am only interested in improving patient care and in finding out the truth.

I do not know if you are intentionally misrepresenting the events, if your recollection is colored by emotion, or if you are presenting mostly accurate statements.

You really do need to go to the WOAI website and go through all of the postings if you are really interested in the facts, which I suspect that you are not.

Comments on an article are not facts. If you want to provide facts –

Provide a link to a transcript, or other recording of hearings addressing this.

Provide the actual living will to someone who will confirm its authenticity before posting it.


Image credit.

DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders are flawed and always will be. We need to encourage those writing the laws to clarify the wording of these documents, not to come up with more complicated ways of presenting them. The Texas legislature passed a law that does not really change anything except to complicate things.

If the Texas (or Pennsylvania) legislature had any idea of what they are doing they would simplify the documents so that a doctor is able to read these documents at a point when time may be critical in determining what to do.

We should not presume that everyone would want to be treated. We should encourage people to clearly express their wishes, so that their treatment follows their wishes as closely as possible.

There will always be cases where things do not go as planned. EMS (Emergency Medical Services) would not exist if everything went as planned. We are the Help, something went wrong with . . . people.

People should not try to change the rules on living wills to invalidate the wishes of all of those who are conscientious enough try to make their wishes known ahead of time.

Representative Ruth McClendon does not appear to have any idea of how to do this, but she did create the false impression of caring about patients’ rights.

Representative Ruth McClendon Trying to Eliminate Patient Rights in Texas

If we want some living wills to be interpreted by lawyers, then we need to have that written in big letters across the top of each page, otherwise it is the job of EMS to contact medical command to determine what to do. If the document is worded to be interpreted by a doctor, then EMS is doing that by contacting medical command.

The legislature is at fault for creating documents that are not easy for a doctor to interpret.

Legislatures exist to write complicated documents that require the interpretation of lawyers, but that is not surprising, sine they are mostly made up of lawyers. They take what should be simple and complicate it.

End of life decisions, CPR/no CPR, intubation/no intubation, blood transfusions/no blood transfusions are going to be different for different people. We need to respect the decisions of those people. We should not impose our wishes on them.

.

Comments

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more on this one. Well written.

  2. That’s because he’s an idiot that couldn’t live with the fact that EMS performed their job correctly and his dad still died. Not to sound callous, but this isn’t ER or Emergency! It was obvious to me that the protocols were followed correctly.

    • Russell,

      That’s because he’s an idiot that couldn’t live with the fact that EMS performed their job correctly and his dad still died. Not to sound callous, but this isn’t ER or Emergency! It was obvious to me that the protocols were followed correctly.

      I disagree with Mr. Read’s view of things, but disagreeing with me does not make him an idiot. I think that he has a lot of emotional involvement in this. If you want, I can provide some commentary on my ex-wife, but you probably should not take it as completely accurate. I was there, but I was very emotionally involved in the events. This has nothing to do with whether either of us are idiots, even if we might occasionally use the word idiot in describing the other. One doesn’t have to be an idiot to be wrong, while one can be right and still be an idiot. 😕

      The government agency that provides oversight did not appear to find any fault with the medics or the agency, so they tried changing the law. The law did not change in any significant way, but it did add to the amount of red tape that affects end of life care.

      The idiots are the legislature for grandstanding and making things only more broken, because there is now more legislation that says the same thing as before.

      .

  3. It must be tough to lose a parent. I wouldn’t know, as both of mine are alive and well. That still doesn’t excuse Mr. Read’s idiocy. The right thing was done here. The medic on scene read a document which stated the patient did not want the treatment that was being provided. The medic then called medical control, who agreed with the medic, and the treatment (which wasn’t wanted to begin with) was stopped, in accordance with the patient’s wishes. I suspect this mystic document will be produced when Mr. Read files a lawsuit. If, that is, he can find an attorney to take his case.

    Who are we to dictate the wishes of our loved ones?

    I agree with Sean. Well-written, as usual.

    • CCC,

      It must be tough to lose a parent. I wouldn’t know, as both of mine are alive and well. That still doesn’t excuse Mr. Read’s idiocy.

      Many of us find many ways of picking just one item as the single thing that matters and basing everything on that. Politicians depend on this. He has posted wording that suggests that the living will was misinterpreted.

      The right thing was done here.

      I would say that the protocols were followed.

      You know that I do not think that following the protocols is always the route to doing the right thing.

      Whether the right thing was done depends on what the patient’s wishes were. If the living will did state that he only wanted CPR withheld if he was diagnosed by two separate doctors as having a terminal illness, and he has not been diagnosed with a terminal illness, then the living will was misinterpreted.

      The medic on scene read a document which stated the patient did not want the treatment that was being provided. The medic then called medical control, who agreed with the medic, and the treatment (which wasn’t wanted to begin with) was stopped, in accordance with the patient’s wishes.

      The medic appropriately contacted medical command and CPR was stopped.

      I suspect this mystic document will be produced when Mr. Read files a lawsuit. If, that is, he can find an attorney to take his case.

      I don’t know if the document will be produced. I do know that living wills can be worded as Mr. Read states. I always try to find out from family what the patient’s wishes are and what the patient understood the living will to mean. It is not always easy to get a clear answer at such an emotional time.

      It is very easy to misinterpret a word, or a gesture, or a statement at these times, so communication becomes very important.

      Who are we to dictate the wishes of our loved ones?

      Too many of us feel that we have the right to control the lives of others. This is only appropriate in limited circumstances and these are often not simple. I had one cardiac arrest where the significant other met me at the door. I asked about DNR and was told, “There is a DNR and I am the power of attorney and authorized to revoke the DNR, but due to the cardiac arrest occurring at a big family event, I want everything done.” The explanation was clear and informed, so I followed the wishes of the significant other.” It was the right thing to do – in that situation. Someone else providing similar information, but without any apparent understanding would get a different response.

      We do need to change our default approach, so that it is not treat everyone and those who don’t want treatment just have to be abused.

      This is not good patient care. This is only an attempt to appease the noisiest whiners.

      I agree with Sean. Well-written, as usual.

      Thank you.

      .

  4. I’m curious as to why Mr. Read feels the need to defend his actions so vigorously. If they are indeed righteous, they should stand on their own accord. It strikes me as the actions of a person who feels they must “have their wrong righted” more than someone who is truly interested in protecting patients.

    Mr Read appears to have posted the text of his father’s living will in the comments section of WOAI’s comments section. Assuming the text is unaltered (and I assume it’s not) it does appear the will required examination by two physicians including the patient’s primary physician. If this is the case it does appear Mr. Read is correct that perhaps the wishes of the will weren’t followed, meaning patient choice wasn’t respected. That said, I truly believe few people who knew they had little chanc of survival would wish to undergo a resuscitation if they witnessed one.

    I suspect more education is needed on two fronts. One paramedics likely could use education on the various types of end-of-life documentation. However, a big push is needed to make people truly aware of what resucitation truly entails. People have very, very unrealistic expectations about medical care in these cases. Let’s face it, how many of us have run successful resuscitations on 77 year olds with multiple co-morbidities that we didn’t witness go into cardiac arrest? Maybe in response to such accusations we should focus on educating the public about realistic expectations of medical care.

  5. I wish I knew this gentleman’s presenting rhythm. In all likelihood if it was anything but VF/VT I would have begun BLS/CPR while calling medical control for orders to terminate efforts. Or, given NC trusts its paramedics, I would have simply terminated based on futility alone.

    Knowing that every situation is different, I went and read the “living will” and the text of Texas HB 577. The living will is pretty simple, and is written in terms that anybody can understand (legal scholar or not):

    …my desire that my dying not be prolonged by the administration of artificial life-sustaining or death prolonging procedures

    At this point I already know that this patient does not wish to be needlessly resuscitated. However, it was the patient’s wish to have some stipulations:

    …under the following circumstances. If at the time I shall have an incurable injury, disease or illness certified to be a terminal condition by two physicians who have personally examined me…

    The patient obviously wishes that he not be written off as dead unless he is really dead. I think I agree that I’d like a second opinion on this matter.

    …one of whom shall be the physician having primary responsibility for my treatment…

    What Terry Read and family fail to realize is that paramedics operate as an extension of their medical director, who is a licensed doctor. We are authorized to act in his or her stead, and our actions carry the full weight of their medical license as long as we operate within our guidelines and standing orders.

    When I decide to administer treatment, it is as if my medical director requested it be done. Likewise, when I decide to withhold treatment, it is as if my medical director has made the request.

    So in this case, respecting the wishes of the patient, the paramedic in charge elected to contact Medical Control for a second opinion.

    …and such physicians shall have determined that my death will occur whether or not life-sustaining or death-prolonging procedures are utilized and that such procedures would serve only to prolong the dying process artificially…

    The family raised the issue of who actually gave the order on the other end of the phone or radio. While it is true that often a nurse or technician answers the call, when a request for orders is made a MD directs the care and gives the order. It is standard practice for the prehospital provider receiving the order to make a note as to who gave the order and how the order was received.

    …I direct that my physician withhold or withdraw all medical procedures that merely prolong the dying process and request that I be permitted to die natural with only the administration of medication and medical procedures necessary to alleviate pain or to provide comfort care.

    I have yet to see any proof the paramedics did anything but follow the patient’s best wishes. The family appears to not understand how EMS operates, or for that matter any non-doctor operates.

    Now, when we take a look at the text of Texas HB 577, it added the following condition upon EMS providers:

    (2) have no duty to review, examine, interpret, or honor a person’s other written directive, including a written directive in the form prescribed by Section 166.033.

    I’m troubled by this, as it appears I can basically ignore my patient’s wishes and it is codified in the law! I don’t even have to ask for written directives anymore. However, the law merely states I have no duty to do so, it does not state I cannot do so if I deem it part of the standard of care.

    The most interesting part is later, where basically the status quo has not changed. If my medical director has written standing orders for field termination of resuscitation, it doesn’t matter what my patient says! Texas HB 577 effectively works to remove patient rights.

    (2) may order the termination of cardiopulmonary resuscitation only if, based on the medical director’s or online physician’s professional medical judgment, the medical director or online physician determines that resuscitation should be discontinued.

    This is the Law of Unintended Consequences at work. The Read family just reduced the legal effectiveness of living wills for all patients in Texas rather than strengthen them. However, I’m fairly certain this was their intent.

    Besides, as the new law reads, the lead paramedic in this case still operated within the law and with the patient’s best interests in mind.

    I don’t think the Read family will ever be happy with this situation, and perhaps this could have been ameliorated by one of the EMS providers on scene explaining why they were terminating resuscitation and working to help console and counsel the family members. But that is another post for another day.

  6. Rogue Medic,

    I say that I know what happened based on the fact that I was there and went through it. You are basing your comments on your speculations. So anything that I say certainly has more weight than what you say. As far as the San Antonio Fire Department not initially cooperating, why do you think this has been going on for so long? The investigation took a long time because the Fire Department was not answering the DSHS investigator.
    Have you read HB 577. It says “
    SECTION 1. Section 166.102(b), Health and Safety Code, is
    amended to read as follows:
    (b) When responding to a call for assistance, emergency
    medical services personnel:
    (1) shall honor only a properly executed or issued
    out-of-hospital DNR order or prescribed DNR identification device
    in accordance with this subchapter; and
    (2) have no duty to review, examine, interpret, or
    honor a person’s other written directive, including a written
    directive in the form prescribed by Section 166.033.”

    So Rogue Medic, treatment by the paramedics may still be terminated, but not by not by the Living Will.

    The State EMS Director admitted the person on the other end of the phone may not be a doctor during the House Committee hearing in which I testified. Through the Open Records Act, I have requested minutes of the meeting, but have not gotten them yet. I am not sure how detailed the minutes are. But you are certainly welcome to make the same request. It was the House Public Health Committee Meeting for April 20, 2011 – for HB 577.

    The lead paramedics stated it would be against the law to continue when I told the paramedics not to stop treatment. Then when I tried to get to my father, the paramedics ganged up on me, wrestled me down, and threatened to have me taken away in handcuffs.

    As far as the Living Will, I can ask WOAI to post. But in the meantime, what would you like me to do, scan it and shoot it to you? Would you like me to photocopy it and mail it to you? If you provide a mailing address, I will do that. Would you like to meet in person and have me show it to you personally? If you do, I am sure we can arrange a meeting. But I am a little curious. Will any of this satisfy you? Also, if you watch the story, what do you think that I was showing to Mireyea Villarreal? I was going over the Living Will with her. You seem to think I have been hiding something when I have not.

    As far as a patient not wanting resuscitation, they still have the option of a DNR.

    The link below will take you to the 82nd Legislatures Senate Committee on Health and Human Services Sessions. Our Testimony is on the May 17, 2011 session. HB 577 is the second bill being testified on. My mother and I begin testimony at about the 7:40 mark.

    `http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/commit/c610/c610.htm

    You can hear my mother and myself both testify that the Living Will called for examination by two physicians, and my mother had power of attorney. None of those things happened. This is what we testified to before a Senate Committee. Do you think both my mother and I committed perjury? Do you think that a copy of the Living Will was not supplied to Representative McClendon’s office in their investigation? Also, do you think that the Living Will was not provided to the Department of State Health Services in their investigation? If my mother and I both committed perjury on what was in the Living Will, all of these parties would know it. Also, note that the State EMS Director was not at the Senate Committee Meeting after having gotten questioned at the House Committee meeting.
    One more thing, I am almost 49 years old and have a 4 year old son that my wife and I prayed many years for. And like you, I have other interest as well. Do you think I would have devoted the tremendous amount of time, energy, and emotion to this effort, as I am still doing, if I did not know that the wrong thing had really happened? I have gained nothing from this financially. The only thing I have gained is recognition that the wrong thing happened. And even now, I am still dealing with people like yourself.

    Terry Read

    • The paramedic in charge was operating under the license of his medical director (Physician #1). The paramedic contacted a medical control physician (Physician #2).

      Two physicians; this is how EMS works.

      • Christopher,

        The paramedic in charge was operating under the license of his medical director (Physician #1).

        Not exactly. If we operated under any physician’s license, physicians would get in trouble when paramedics do something wrong. We do not operate under a physician’s license.

        The paramedic contacted a medical control physician (Physician #2).

        What if the two are the same person?

        However, what Mr. Read is referring to is what he wrote in the comments at the news site. He wrote out the living will, which includes the following –

        “If at the time I shall have an incurable injury, disease or illness certified to be a terminal condition by two physicians who have personally examined me, one of whom shall be the physician having primary responsibility for my treatment, and such physicians shall have determined that my death will occur whether or not life-sustaining or death-prolonging procedures are utilized and that such procedures would serve only to prolong the dying process artificially … hereby appoint Deloris D. Read as my attorney-in-fact to make such decision, which said appointment constitutes a Durable Power of Attorney and shall not be affected by my disability or incapacity.”

        The part deleted was deleted by Mr. Read. He does have a tendency to provide limited information and claim that the limited and sometimes out-of-context information is proof of something.

        If the wording is accurate, then his personal physician and another physician should have declared him terminally ill in order for this to have any effect. That does not appear to be the case. This is one of the problems with advance directives. We are not given training on interpretation of them, so they require a reading over the phone to medical command.

        There are ways to simplify the documents. I have seen living wills that are half a dozen pages long. I regularly transport patients who have DNR orders, but nobody can provide them for me, or they are not Prehospital DNR orders because the patient’s doctor does not understand the way DNRs have been changed. In both cases, the patient often ends up with something other than what the patient wanted.

        The whole purpose of the living will/DNR is for the patient’s wishes to be followed.

        Living wills/DNRs are not written tosatisfy the corrupt wishes of some ignorant grandstanding politicians.

        Two physicians; this is how EMS works.

        That is not at all what Mr. Read was writing.

        .

        • It says prolonging the “dying process.” If the elder Read was in cardiac arrest, wasn’t he already dead? Semantics I know, but lawyers live on semantics. Therefore, since he has already died, the living will it seems would become a moot point, true? I was trained on DNR’s and living wills in Ohio, where the DNR was meant to prohibit treatment that would prolong life so that’s where my rational comes from.

          Since we don’t know the San Antonio protocol for field termination, and how far they covered it in this case (since no source is to be trusted except the provider’s report and I am sure Mr. Read would not release his father’s PCR), then I can only assume that they finished it out and then were deciding to continue or not and were presented with the living will, called medical control with, and were told to terminate. This seems logical to me that there was probably no chance he would have survived an out of hospital cardiac arrest.

        • We’re certified and operate under our medical director’s license in my state. Theoretically our MD could get in trouble for our care in the field if we were operating under inappropriate standing orders or received inappropriate or inadequate training to accomplish certain skills.

          Regardless, when I examine a patient and determine they are deceased (or efforts are futile), I am doing so under the standing orders of a physician and am acting in their stead. In our area it is fairly rare to receive your own medical director as the medical control physician, but I guess that may not be true in other areas (say San Antonio).

          My understanding of Mr. Read’s complaint was that the intent of the living will was not carried out due to the inability of EMS to understand it. As far as it is written, not only did EMS understand it properly, they carried it out as written as well. It may not be the most strict interpretation, but it was certainly proper, legal, and ethical.

  7. Somehow, I figured it wouldn’t take Mr. Read long to show up.

  8. Russell,

    You are correct. It is not going to take me long to show up. I have been fighting this battle for 3 years to get the truth out and I am not going to let people that do not have a clue as to what happened and are making assumptions based on their biases get the last word.

    All,

    Now I have posted the link to the Senate session so you can hear my mother’s testimony as well as mine. I have also just shot a scanned image of my father’s Living Will to Rogue Medic. It will be interesting to hear her response.

    usalsfyre,

    Suppose I do not answer. Then people will think these wild speculations are true. Proverbs 25: 5. I know that Proverbs 25: 4 seems to say just the opposite. But there may be some people that actually want to know the truth. I hope you are one. I hope that Russell is one. I hope that Rogue Medic is one. She was actually nice enough to correct Russell for calling me an “idiot”.

    Terry Read

    • I guess my only question is what truth are you looking for? The facts appear to be your father was in cardiac arrest, efforts to resuscitate him were deemed futile, and the paramedics wished to respect his living will.

      Would you have accepted the case where the paramedics performed a field resuscitation until they reached futility? Or would you have demanded they take your father by ambulance to the hospital? I can assure you that if EMS “scooped and ran” the outcome would have been the same. We don’t just drive people to the hospital anymore.

      More importantly, the ED doctors would not have read the living will; they simply would have pronounced your father dead in the resuscitation room.

      Instead, your father was father was treated with dignity and respect, and was allowed to die on his own terms in his own home.

  9. Christopher,

    You read yourself that my father’s Living Will called for personal examination by two physicians, one of whom is my father’s primary physician. To count a paramedic as a physician because the paramedic is operating under a medical director’s license is really a stretch. Even if you accept that (which I do not), the lead paramedic never examined my father himself. He took the Living Will into another room, got on the phone, came out a few minutes later, and ordered treatment to stop. The closest he came to examining my father was to ask another paramedic if my father had a pulse. The paramedics that were actually treating my father were just following the lead paramedic’s instruction. And the person on the other end of the phone certainly did not make a personal examination. And let me ask you a question. Which one was my father’s primary physician? Let me ask you another question. My mother had power of attorney. Who was acting for my mother? My mother was right there and she was never consulted.
    To answer your question, if they would have continued to work on my father and at some point said to us “There is not any more we can do. There is no point in continuing.” yes, I would have felt much better. Despite whatever Russell may think, I am not an “idiot”. I know that people die. My grandparents have all died. Some of my aunts and uncles have died. Unless the world as we know it ends first, my mother will die at some point. I will die at some point. I could have been at peace knowing everything was done that could have been done. But instead, I was left knowing treatment was stopped, not because treatment continued until it was determined nothing more could have been done, but because the lead paramedic came out of another room and said “Stop!”, after talking on the phone with someone about my Father’s Living will. Then I was wrestled down by the six paramedics when I tried to continue treatment myself, and threatened with being taken away in handcuffs. And for some reason, you think what happened is hunky-dory.
    I am sorry that you just cannot get it that the wrong thing happened. But you have performed a service with your postings. All of the people we talk to about this ask the same question, “Why did they ask for a Living Will?” When people call 911, they are not wanting someone to come and determine what the patient’s wishes are. I am talking to you as someone who not only went through this experience with my father but may need treatment myself someday. I do not want you trying to determine what my wishes are. I want you to treat me. So with your postings, you have shown the need for HB 577. People reading this know that you are out there. You have shown that you need to have it clarified what your role is – to administer emergency medical treatment. If there is someone reading this that does not want resuscitation, they can still get a DNR. That is what a DNR is for.

    Terry Read

    • EMS has done a poor job explaining what it is that we do. We need to clarify what our role is for the public! The days of slapping a patient on a gurney and running off to a hospital to see a doctor are long gone, and for a good reason. Simply rendering emergency medical treatment is a wholly inadequate and uninformed job description for paramedics.

      If the patient cannot give informed consent, I am legally obligated to determine what is best for the patient. This is known as implied consent, and usually involves following the standard of care.

      If the patient has a Living Will or DNR, we use these to guide our determination as to what the patient would ask to have done were they able to give informed consent. This is the moral and ethical approach to any form of care.

      You do not want an “unthinking skills monkey” coming to your house, who blindly follows protocols regardless of a patient’s wishes. You want paramedics who apply critical thinking and calm reason when presented with real or perceived emergencies.

      As far as not engaging your mother, I cannot speak to the crew’s reasoning. As a general rule it is best to begin BLS/CPR while determining the history, likelihood of success, and patient wishes. That last part involves a brief interview with family members, which should have happened in your case.

      I acknowledge that the crew failed to appropriately handle your father’s cardiac arrest.

      It sounds like they failed to provide appropriate counseling and education to you and your family. Likely their department needs to improve how they handle these situations in the future, so that other families do not have to suffer through the confusion and grief as yours has.

      I do take issue with your solution to your perception of the problem. It is very much the responsibility of EMS to determine what are their patient’s wishes, whether that be through informed consent or implied consent. HB 577, your legal “solution”, will not improve any resuscitation in the future. It will not put a paramedic’s focus on rendering “emergency medical treatment”. Worse, if a living will outlined restrictions for blood products or certain treatments not to be rendered for religious reasons, paramedics would have no choice but to ignore them.

      HB 577 seems simply to serve as a cathartic outlet to share your grief and anger at their handling of your situation, and this is where we take issue.

  10. Christopher,

    Thank you for acknowledging that the paramedics on the scene mishandled the situation. I am sorry that you disagree with HB 577. But remember, I did start out attempting to contact the City Manager and then the Mayor. If one had just answered me and said, “We are sorry for the loss of your father. We will look at our procedures”, that would have been enough to satisfy me at the time. But they ignored me and you have to ask yourself why.
    Then DSHS would not acknowledge that the wrong thing happened. The State EMS director justified their decision, saying “Procedures are locally determined”. The implication was that as long as the paramedics followed the procedures, everything was O.K. DSHS did not question the procedures, although Representative John Zerwas , MD did.
    So that is why I kept pushing it. So I do not think that your grievance is with me, Representative McClendon, the Texas Legislature who passed HB 577, or Governor Perry who signed HB 577 into law. I think your grievance is with City Manager Sheryl Sculley, former Mayor Phil Hardberger, and DSHS.

    Terry Read

  11. Christopher and all others,

    I am sending you the link I found to our House testimony. Representative McClendon introduces HB 577 at 1:13:50. The questioning of the State EMS Director starts at 1:30:10. You can check it out for yourselves.

    http://www.house.state.tx.us/video-audio/committee-broadcasts/committee-archives/player/?session=82&committee=410&ram=11042008410

    I am sure if you disagreed with HB 577 before, you will still disagree with it now. But I hope you will better understand why it was passed.

    Terry Read

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  1. […] Terry Read sent me an email with a scan of his father’s living will and a link to the Texas Senate Hearings (the link is also in the comments to Terry Read Comments on the Death of His Father and the Living Will). […]

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