Family Debates Hospital’s Action in Woman’s Death
CBS 11 News) "It was against our will to unplug her. We never wanted that.”
Daniel Salvi and his family surrounded his sister’s bedside Monday at Baylor Regional Medical Center in Plano and watched doctors take the 27-year-old off life support.
"It didn't take long — 15 to 16 minutes,” Tirhas Habtegiris’ brother recalled.
Habtegiris had abdominal cancer that spread to her lungs. Eventually, she was on a ventilator and her cousin took care of her.
The family said doctors told them they would have to remove her from life support in 10 days.
When the family disagreed, the hospital's Clinical Ethics Committee met and decided to take Habtegiris off the ventilator.
The hospital declined an on-camera interview, but in a statement said they "contacted 12 facilities including hospitals, long term acute care facilities and nursing homes, all of whom declined to accept the patient.”
Salvi believes this would not have happened if his sister had health insurance.
"If you don't have money in this country, you're nothing. You're not a human being."
But a Dallas attorney who worked on the law said money has nothing to do with it and only clinical matters are considered.
Dr. Allan Shulkin, who specializes in pulmonary and critical care medicine at another Dallas hospital, supports the law.
"Sometimes applying technology when there is no other opportunity for recovery is wrong not because it’s expensive, but because it prolongs suffering," he said.
Salvi said his sister wanted to die in her mother's arms.
A hospital spokesperson the facility offered to hire an immigration attorney free of charge to help bring the woman's mother from East Africa.
Relatives, however, said the East African process was too lengthy.
Contrast this with Schiavo, who was brain dead, whose husband had already made the hard decision to remove life support. Then ask yourself where the outcry is, and why.