Chris Dunn died on Wednesday, December 23, at Houston Methodist Hospital.
His sad saga was featured by many national news outlets, including Fox News, because a hospital committee, also known as a death panel, deemed Chris’s life was futile and not worth living, nor worth diagnosing. The decision was made to terminate his care and impose a death sentence — even though he was conscious and made known his wishes to live. The decision to terminate was made NOT because the treatment was futile (the treatment was actually helping Chris), but because Chris's life was determined as futile since he had a severe illness.
Texas Right to Life received the desperate plea for help from Evelyn, Chris’s mother, and we immediately sent our team to her side. Our Pro-Life legal team secured an injunction, which delayed the hospital from killing Chris! This legal skirmish proved incredibly difficult because the multi-billion-dollar hospital hired TWO legal teams in addition to their in-house team. They even tried legal maneuvers to strip guardianship from Evelyn because she would not acquiesce to the hospital death sentence. Even more shocking is that the hospital filed court papers to petition their own paid employee be appointed as Chris’s guardian.
Chris Dunn was a servant who helped people until he suddenly fell ill. In his 46 years, Chris was an EMT, a dispatcher for the police, a Harris county sheriff's deputy, a Homeland Security agent, and a security officer for a shipping company where he literally fought Somali pirates.
Friend, this is so difficult: The hospital had every legal right to kill Chris, disregarding the patient's own wishes because a draconian Texas Death Panel Law gives hospitals the power to rule over patients and their families.
Texas Right to Life has been trying to reform this law since 2005, but the opposition is so well-funded that the medical lobby can buy friends.
What we know about Chris's passing: In the face of much pressure, the hospital did agree to extend the time that Chris would be treated there. Both Evelyn and we believe that Chris's death was not artificially (or politically) hastened and that Chris died in God's timing, rather than the hospital's timing. We protected Chris’s wishes and his right to Life.
What you may not know: Texas Right to Life works every day throughout the year to protect patients like Chris from hospitals across the state.
In fact, our dedicated team is ministering to THREE other families right now who are facing this exact statutory process.
Chris's seat at Christmas dinner will be glaringly vacant. During this Christmas season, Chris's family must bury him. Evelyn’s friends and family will be wiping a tear, rather than sharing Christmas cheer. Instead of writing Christmas cards, Evelyn will be writing Chris’s eulogy.
Deliver peace and comfort to Chris’s family by helping Texas Right to Life cover the costs of Chris’s funeral and the legal fees incurred to challenge the Texas law that endangered his life.
We must reform or repeal this law in the 2017 85th Session of the Texas Legislature.
This work is very expensive, but the Texas Death Panel Law must be reversed so that no more patients who are ailing and disabled face the tragic ordeal Chris and Chris's family faced.
Yours for their Lives,