Right To Life

Online readers respond to "Right to Life," by Chris Vogel, May 1.

Doctor's orders: As a practicing physician, I can assure you that convening an ethics board (containing physicians, nurses and laypeople) to review every aspect of a case in great detail is the last thing a physician who's made a mistake would want to do.

The laws in Texas are a blessing and exist so that physicians and nurses have the right to not continue painful and unnecessary treatments even if the family wants to continue. This is to protect the patient from unrealistic family members and the staff from doing things they find morally and professionally wrong. They must continue full treatment until an independent group makes a decision.

A do-not-resuscitate order is usually approved by the family, but it is a decision made by a physician that advanced resuscitation on a patient would not be beneficial and would cause suffering for no reason.

Comment by Robert

On the boards: A physician is making my decisions or the decisions of my family? No way!

Any person who calls himself a physician and is in the business of killing should have his license revoked forever.

This poor girl would have been dead if the doctors who promise to do no harm had their way. Now she's in a loving home and has a loving friend and laughs at her jokes. These "independent" boards that help doctors cover up their mistakes are a joke.

Comment by Astralis

Sue away: I hate sue-happy people, but in this case...sue, sue, sue. Blessings to the family; I'm so sorry this happened to your little girl. I know there are two sides of this story and only one side was presented, but from what is being reported, this never should have happened.

Comment by Barb

Crushed: I have been close to this family for a long time, even before all this started. To get straight to the point, those doctors did not treat Sabrina with care, whatsoever. They can deny it all they want, but if they would have just done their jobs, we would not be in this situation right now. Those doctors crushed Sabrina's dreams and future. I would be at the hospital every day to check on Sabrina, and every time I would go, it seemed like she got worse and worse, sitting in her room. Her monitors would start beeping, and doctors would not come in and check on her. They seriously neglected her. She's had seizures, strokes and her heart stopped! Two years later, she's making a little progress, slowly but surely. Don't take your child to Memorial Hermann Children's Hospital.

Comment by joey thomas

Reality check: Many people are patients at Hermann Hospital and never pay their bills. It is a huge place that handles most of the local trauma. Many lives are saved at Hermann. For the ones that will not make it, the DNR decision is a kind way to let nature take its place. The story of that child is a sad one, but things happen that are out of the control of all parties concerned. A reality check is needed here: The child appears to be in a vegetative state, and no doubt, if she were able to communicate she would prefer to be set free. Oftentimes parents suffer from guilt and selfishness in terms of wanting to hold onto their children even though they should let go. In this case, these people are determined to get money to satisfy their point of view and greed. They are wrong for doing so. They will not win. Hospitals try their best, and not all will end up satisfied. We have to face the reality that all things do not end up the way we expect.

Comment by alumette

Treat the patient: Frankly, no one gives a shit if they need to save their own asses. Since when do doctors really care if you're in pain or if treatment is unnecessary? It's bullshit. She has a right to life. There are many stories of people who defy the odds, so who's to say that one day she won't be at least 50 percent better? As you can see, toward the end of the article, she isn't a "vegetable." The way I see it, if the parents can afford the supposed "unnecessary treatment," then is it really hurting the doctors to treat the patient? The doctors didn't give birth to her; they're not her parents; they don't know the emotional devastation of what losing a kid does to you. So they should get off their high horse and treat the patients. That's what they get paid for.

I'm currently in med school, and I could never see myself playing God with someone's life. I hope they get sued up the ass.

Comment by becky

The other side? Though I'm sure that this unfortunate girl's money-hungry family and obviously highly educated ex-­boyfriend are providing a completely unbiased view of the situation, I wish that the Press would have included some of the physician's side or at least a physician's side of the story. The reporting is a little sensationalistic and one-sided.

Comment by Micheal

Helped by Hermann: Doctors are the caretakers of the patient, not the family. Many times, especially in pediatric cases, the family/random boyfriends, etc., fail or refuse to understand and accept the situation. In that case, many helpless people are subjected to painful and unnecessary procedures (intubation, feeding tubes placed through the abdominal wall, etc.) that only prolong the inevitable. My sister and I wanted everything done for my father, even though, in retrospect, he had no chance of survival. A very patient and caring physician at Hermann helped us understand the process, and my father died naturally in peace with us at his side. The doctors at Hermann did us a great service and saved my father a lot of needless pain.

Comment by Dakwan

The Houston Press is up for awards in three contests

Todd Spivak, a staff writer for the Houston Press, has been named a finalist in the 2008 Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinctive Journalism and Financial Journalism competition.

Spivak is a finalist for "Heads You Lose...Tails You Lose" which revealed a wide variety of scams in the rare coin industry.

The Loeb honors are the nation's most prestigious business-writing awards. Spivak is a finalist in the small newspaper category, in which dailies and weeklies of less than 150,000 circulations compete against each other. Winners will be announced in late June.

In another national contest, the AltWeekly Awards sponsored by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, Press contributor Troy Schulze has been named a finalist in the Arts Feature category for his story "Black Box Office" on regional black urban theater. Winners will be announced in early June.

And in the statewide Lone Star journalism awards contest sponsored by the Houston Press Club, the Press has a number of finalists.

Staffers Todd Spivak and Chris Vogel are finalists in the Print Journalist of the Year category.

Spivak is also a finalist in the Public Service category for "Toxic Town," and in the Business Story category for "Heads You Lose...Tails You Lose."

Vogel is also a finalist in the Politics/Government category for "The TSU Three" and in the Business Story category for "The Getaway."

Editor Margaret Downing is a finalist in the Feature category for "Death in a Box" and in the General Commentary/Criticism category for "Judging Books and Their Covers."

Contributor Jason Friedman is a finalist in the Sports Story category for "Rocket Science" and in the Internet Opinion category for his columns on the Houston Rockets.

Music Editor John Nova Lomax is a finalist in the Internet Based News — Original for his series on walking the streets of Houston.

And finally, staff photographer Daniel Kramer is a finalist in four categories: Photojournalist of the Year, Feature Photo (for a quinceañera shot), Sports Photo (for a rugby shot) and Photo Package (for his greyhound racing coverage). Winners will be announced at a banquet at the University of Houston Hilton Hotel on June 6.

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