A Texas quadriplegic died of the coronavirus after a hospital refused to treat him, according to a report.
Michael Hickson, 46, was admitted to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center on June 2 when he developed pneumonia after contracting COVID-19 at his nursing home.
But the hospital refused to treat him, according to Hickson’s wife Melissa, who recorded doctors contending that invasive COVID treatments wouldn’t improve his “quality of life” because of his advanced disabilities.
“Will [treatment] affect his quality? Will it improve his quality of life?” a doctor is heard telling Melissa, according to the recordings obtained by local news station KVUE. “And the answer is no.”
The startled spouse then presses the doctor.
“Why wouldn’t it?” she asked. “Being able to live isn’t improving the quality of life?”
“There’s no improvement with being intubated, with a bunch of lines and tubes in your body, and being on a ventilator for more than two weeks,” he replied.
St. David’s South Austin Medical Center where Michael Hickson died.Google Maps
“As of right now, his quality of life — he doesn’t have much of one,” the doctor can then be heard saying.
“What do you mean?” Melissa responded. “Because he’s paralyzed with a brain injury, he doesn’t have quality of life?”
“Correct,” the doctor said.
Six days later, on June 11, her husband was dead.
“The reason we go to hospitals is to be treated, and it is not to be based on a scale of whether or not you’re disabled or anything else,” Melissa told KVUE.
However, hospital officials denied that they stopped treatment because of Hickson’s pre-existing state.
“Every clinical decision that was made for him was done as part of a multidisciplinary team that included his caregiver, who was his surrogate family, according to the law,” Dr. DeVry Anderson told the station.
A court appointed Family Eldercare as Hickson’s caregiver after his wife and sister tussled over his custody.
“Mr Hickson’s spouse, family, and the medical community were in agreement with the decision not to intubate Mr Hickson,” Family Eldercare said in a statement.
But pro-life activists ripped the hospital’s decision to cease treatment no matter the circumstance.
“Whenever you say quality of life, that is completely subjective, and is about whether I think this person deserves to live or not live,” Texas Right to Life official Kimberlyn Schwartz told the station.