Texas Right to Life Will Continue Legal Challenge Barring Hospital from Stopping Treatment

The family of a critically ill Pasadena man who died while awaiting a court hearing likely will continue to pursue its legal challenge of a Texas law authorizing hospitals to discontinue treatment in cases deemed hopeless. Chris Dunn had been hospitalized since early October for a number of serious conditions including end-stage liver disease and pancreatic cancer. In mid-November, doctors told his family that unless another facility could be found to treat him, life-sustaining treatment would be discontinued in 10 days. This was in compliance with a 1999 law in the Texas Health and Safety Code that addresses advance directives regarding desired medical care in life-threatening situations.

Assisted by Texas Right to Life, Dunn’s family pursued further treatment for him and filed a legal challenge to the law. An early December court hearing that could have resulted in an injunction barring doctors from discontinuing treatment was postponed after the hospital filed a petition seeking guardianship of Dunn. The judge mandated that doctors continue life-sustaining treatment in the interim.

Dunn passed away while awaiting this hearing that may have reshaped his medical treatment. The hospital and Texas Right to Life endeavoured to find a hospital willing to provide continuing care for Dunn but were unsuccessful. Potential further hearings have not been scheduled as of this time.

Benny Agosto, Jr. is a partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner in Houston, Texas. For over 65 years, Abraham Watkins has successfully represented injured people and families who fall victim to catastrophes. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience and resources necessary to obtain just compensation their clients. For more information, please contact the office of Benny Agosto, Jr. at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, by letter at 800 Commerce Street, Houston, Texas 77002, or by phone at (713) 222-7211.