Saturday, March 19, 2005

Spiro Nikolouzos

George Bush signed the law which allows the hospitals to make this decision:

A patient's inability to pay for medical care combined with a prognosis that renders further care futile are two reasons a hospital might suggest cutting off life support, the chief medical officer at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital said Monday.

Dr. David Pate's comments came as the family of Spiro Nikolouzos fights to keep St. Luke's from turning off the ventilator and artificial feedings keeping the 68-year-old grandfather alive.

St. Luke's notified Jannette Nikolouzos in a March 1 letter that it would withdraw life-sustaining care of her husband of 34 years in 10 days, which would be Friday. Mario Caba-llero, the attorney representing the family, said he is seeking a two-week extension, at minimum, to give the man more time to improve and to give his family more time to find an alternative facility.

Caballero said he would discuss that issue with hospital attorneys today.

Pate said he could not address Nikolouzos' case specifically because he doesn't have permission from the family but could talk about the situation in general.

"If there is agreement on the part of all the physicians that the patient does have an irreversible, terminal illness," he said, "we're not going to drag this on forever ...

"When the hospital is really correct and the care is futile ... you're not going to find many hospitals or long-term acute care facilities (that) want to take that case," he said. "Any facility that's going to be receiving a patient in that condition ... is going to want to be paid for it, of course."