Alfie Evans passed away in London last month after British courts ordered him to be taken off life-supports and denied life-sustaining treatments. While watching one of the news stations, the commentator was incredulous that the courts would keep the parents from going to the United States or Italy, all expenses paid, to extend their son’s life and potentially find a cure. He also stated that something like this would never happen in America.
Parents, this happens every day in America! Under our current health care laws, if an infant is born with a condition that is “incompatible with life,” a doctor, or the hospital can sign a Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR) withholding treatment, food, water, or anything necessary to sustain life, WITHOUT the consent or knowledge of the parents. The same can be done to a minor child who is involved in an accident. This happened in 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri, to Cheryl and Scott Crosier when their son, Simon was born with Trisomy 18. Although infants born with Trisomy 18 may have severe disabilities and a high mortality rate, some children could live well into their 20s and 30s. Unknown to the Crosiers, their doctor had signed a DNR order and placed it in Simon’s chart. All the while they were hoping and expecting Simon to live, Simon was slowly being starved to death and denied the oxygen support he needed to survive. Simon lived 88 ½ days.
In 2015 House Bill 113, “Simon’s Law,” was introduced in the Missouri House that would prohibit health care facilities and others from withholding life-sustaining procedures from a minor patient without the written consent of a parent or legal guardian. For the past four years, the bill was stuck in committee because members of the medical profession believe that parents are “too emotionally unstable and medically ignorant” to make these decisions on behalf of their children. Thanks to Rep. Diane Franklin, Simon’s Law was passed out of committee, unanimously, in March, however, at this time, the bill is stuck in “Rules” and will likely stay there unless people get involved. To date, Kansas is the only State that has passed Simon’s Law and offers protection for our children. It is time to act.
Vicki and her husband Terry are the parents of eight children and were named Colorado Parents of the Year and Family of the Year, 2001. Vicki is the author of two books, many articles, former talk show host, and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs. To get your parenting questions answered, write to Vicki at firstname.lastname@example.org.