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Archive for January, 2015

POLST TPOPP pink formA medical form targeting the elderly and chronically ill is being heavily pushed in Kansas by the Center for Practical Bioethics (more on this group in this post).

However, a new formal opinion from the Kansas Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, verifies that in two distinct areas the form contravenes current statutes that protect patients!

At a press conference Wednesday hosted by Kansans for Life, (see press release here) Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee), who had requested the A.G. opinion,

labeled the TPOPP form “misleading” and “deficient” and asked that it be recalled.

TPOPP is the acronym for “Transportable Physician Orders for Patient Preferences.” Its stated objective is to “improve the quality of care people receive at the end of life by translating patient/resident goals into medical orders.” TPOPP is printed on ‘hot-pink’ paper and is designed to be a permanent part of the patient file in all settings.

TPOPP is a form aligned with similar documents in other states supervised by a private entity, the National POLST Paradigm Task Force. These forms use a series of check boxes to indicate:

  1. whether the patient should be resuscitated (DNR),
  2. which of three basic levels of medical care a patient should receive, and
  3. whether the patient will get medically administered food and water.

It is items 1 and 3 where TPOPP runs afoul of Kansas law.

Under Kansas law, a  directive for DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) requires a witnessed and signed document excluding those who might financially gain by the death of the patient (K,S,A, 65-4943). TPOPP skirts these patient protections as well as eliminating the physician’s immunity from liability for not resuscitating–provided by a legal DNR under K.S.A. 65-4944.

Also, under Kansas law at K.S.A. 59-3075 (e)7), specific prerequisites are needed before guardians may withhold or withdraw life sustaining care.  TPOPP ignores this statute.

In essence, TPOPP purports to be physician orders, but it crosses over into legal areas– putting patients’ lives, and physicians’ careers, at risk.

WARNING
Unfortunately, significant medical groups and facilities across the state that should have been more vigilant and responsible, have already become partners and promoters in implementing TPOPP. (See list) Kansans for Life is notifying hospitals, medical facilities and physician groups about this new Attorney General opinion.

If you or someone you know has filled out a TPOPP form, you should seek counsel immediately on the legal effectiveness of this form. Patients, doctors and other health care professionals should be aware of the legal uncertainty that TPOPP presents.

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rally dismemberment signPro-life Gov. Sam Brownback, with a backdrop of 40 pro-life legislators at Kansans for Life’s annual Rally for Life Thursday, said he was anxious to sign the newly proposed Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.

Approximately 1,500 rally attendees welcomed the news, having marched one half mile together to the Capitol in Topeka with a variety of pro-life posters and banners, including

the newest sign, ‘Stop dismembering unborn babies.’

The crowd was dominated by students, some local, but most bussed in from Hays, Dodge City, Great Bend, Wichita, Leavenworth, Pittsburg, and Kansas City.

Simultaneous with the Rally for Life, President Obama was speaking at the University of Kansas (KU) in Lawrence.  Gage Shirley, part of Rally attendees from the St. Lawrence Catholic Center at KU, told KSNT News reporter, Tyler Carter, “Regardless of him being at our campus or not, we are still coming on the anniversary of Roe v Wade to be fighting for the right to life for the unborn.”

Also speaking at the Rally was Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, urging protection for unborn children targeted for abortion because they have been diagnosed in the womb with grave medical disabilities. Dr. Colyer is a plastic surgeon who has used his medical skills to correct many different physical disfigurements. Despite the existence of medical challenges in the womb or at at the end of life, Dr. Colyer said,”we need to tell the world that life rocks,” and he led the crowd in rousing chants of, “Life rocks, Life rocks!”

State Sen. Garrett Love, R-Montezuma, addressed the Rally as lead sponsor of the new bill to ban dismemberment. He was introduced as having the title of the youngest Kansan ever elected to the state Senate, but he said his favorite title now is that of ‘dad’. He recounted viewing 11-week and 18-week ultrasounds of his new daughter, Abigail, and seeing her fingers and toes and how she was so active even then.

Dismemberment abortions are the standard method of abortion between 13-22 weeks gestation in Kansas. 578 such abortions were recorded as performed in this state in 2013.

Sen. Love told attendees, “Protecting the most defenseless among us has always been a passion for me, and dismemberment is a particularly gruesome type of abortion.”

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act will be formally introduced next week with numerous cosponsors.

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KFL press conferees Jean Gawdun, bill sponsor Sen. Garrett Love and KFL counsel, Jessica Basgall

“Dismemberment ban” introduction featured (L-R) KFL senior lobbyist, Jeanne Gawdun;  bill sponsor, Sen. Garrett Love; and KFL counsel, Jessica Basgall.

Kansans for Life held a press conference Wednesday morning to introduce “The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.” See TV coverage,  here and here.

The public is largely unaware that the standard method for second-trimester abortions involves the brutal limb-by-limb dismemberment of living unborn children.

According to the KDHE (Kansas Department of Health & Environment) in 2013, 578 such abortions were performed using what is termed the “D & E” abortion (Dilation and extraction) method. (see Table 42, pg 101, here)

D & E “remains the most prevalent and cost-effective method of second-trimester pregnancy termination in the USA,” according to the National Abortion Federation Abortion Training Textbook. A medical illustration of a D&E dismemberment abortion is available here.

Kansans will recoil when they actually comprehend this horrific abortion method, as they did when they learned about the gruesome Partial-Birth Abortion method. Bill sponsor, Senate Majority Whip, Garrett Love (R-Montezuma) said,

“In visiting with my constituents, many have been stunned that this practice (dismemberment) is going on in Kansas and have demanded that it be stopped. I am proud to sponsor this ground-breaking legislation,”

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act was crafted by the National Right to Life Committee, and defines dismemberment as:

“extracting him or her one piece at a time from the uterus through use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush, and /or grasp a portion of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip it off. This definition does not include an abortion which uses suction to dismember the body of the developing unborn child by sucking fetal parts into a collection container.”

LITIGATION STRATEGY
Dismemberment abortion is one of six recognized abortion methods used after the first trimester.

In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court Gonzales v Carhart ruling upheld a federal ban on the gruesome Partial Birth method of abortion– which, arguably, may even be less barbaric than dismemberment abortion— because other methods were available.

The Court said that states had the right to ban a method of abortion in order to preserve the integrity of the medical profession and express profound respect for the developing unborn child. In that ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy (considered the ‘swing’ abortion vote on the Court) described the dismemberment method:

“The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn apart limb by limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off. The process of dismembering the fetus continues until it has been completely removed. A doctor may make 10 to 15 passes with the forceps to evacuate the fetus in its entirety…”

This new legislation includes a strict emergency exception, criminal and civil penalties, and privacy protection for court proceedings. It will be introduced in the Kansas Senate next week.

Since  2011, Kansas has barred abortion after 22 weeks gestation (20 weeks post-fertilization) due to the research-confirmed pain-capability of the unborn child. In 1998, Kansas barred Partial Birth Abortions.

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Kris Neuhaus

Neuhaus at Board

Late Friday, the Kansas Board of Healing Arts issued a final order of license revocation for abortionist Kris Neuhaus, calling her “incapable of successful rehabilitation.”  Kansans for Life applauds the resolve of the Board in protecting the public from her.

Neuhaus’ license had been revoked in 2012 for her failure to follow both standard of care and record-keeping protocols when providing the legally-required “second  independent medical opinion ” that enabled 11 teens in 2003 to obtain third-trimester abortions at the Wichita abortion clinic of George Tiller.

Neuhaus challenged that revocation in state district court. While upholding the Board’s findings that Neuhaus repeatedly failed to document patient histories properly, Judge Franklin Theis vacated the standard of care charge and sent the matter back to the Board for a “do-over.” on Dec. 11  (see here).

The Board upheld using the sanction of revocation for record-keeping misconduct, because this was Neuhaus’ “third strike ” in this arena.

She had been involved in two prior disciplinary actions from the Board between 1999-2001 and as part of retaining her medical license then, she had legally PROMISED to correct her admitted record-keeping failures in the future.

Creating and maintaining proper medical records is not a trivial matter. The Board asserted that the “the interest of the patient is paramount…Failure to properly document denies the patient of the opportunity to receive proper follow up care and treatment.”

The Board particularly cited the youth, inexperience and vulnerability of the 11 patients, “who may have had a unique need for follow up because [Neuhaus] testified that some exhibited suicidal ideation or other indicators of mental illness or psychiatric problems.”

The Board found that Neuhaus:

  • intentionally, willfully and knowingly committed multiple violations of the Kansas Healing Arts Act;
  • “has not learned from prior disciplinary actions [and] fails to express contrition or otherwise acknowledge the wrongful nature of her conduct”;
  • feels”justified in her actions and showed no signs of remorse”.

Neuhaus’ attorney, Bob Eye, had pressed that Neuhaus had already suffered a sufficient penalty of not having had her Kansas medical license for the past years during litigation. However, the Board disagreed, and cited continued revocation and court costs were warranted under their sanctioning guidelines.

In the earlier revocation, the state lost the $93,000.00 in court costs charged to Neuhaus which Judge Theis dismissed. Neuhaus has fifteen days to file a new appeal.

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