House panel approves lawmaker’s patient protection resolution
The House Families, Children and Seniors Committee this week voted to approve Rep. Ann Bollin’s resolution affirming patients’ and families’ rights to make medical decisions.
Bollin’s resolution comes in the wake of recent restrictions due to COVID-19 that have some hospitalized patients and senior citizens in various facilities isolated, creating unprecedented circumstances where family members cannot directly interact with their loved ones and are unable to reasonably assess their status. This resolution is an important first step when it comes to protecting our most vulnerable citizens.
Bollin said the ongoing public health crisis should not serve as an excuse for elected officials, government agencies and health organizations to issue precautions that supersede Michigan laws that have long upheld the right of people or their family members to direct health care decisions.
“This important measure states what everyone intuitively understands – that it is the patient or surrogate decisionmaker’s right to make medical decisions in conjunction with the physician, and to give affirmative consent for the withholding or withdrawing of treatments that will directly lead to death,” said Bollin, of Brighton. “Anything to the contrary is not keeping with the principles of informed consent and bodily integrity to have physicians making these life-saving, or ending, decisions unilaterally.”
According to Bollin’s resolution, the fundamental rights of life and liberty in the Bill of Rights demand that a robust and protective legal due process be guaranteed when a decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment is in dispute. Bollin said if notice to withdraw life-sustaining care is contested by a patient advocate or family member, care should not be withdrawn until a full and fair hearing is conducted by an impartial decisionmaker to protect a patient’s rights.
“It couldn’t be more important for us to acknowledge the rights of our aging population and protect them from being deemed ‘incompatible with life,’ ‘futile,’ or a ‘waste of medical resources,’” Bollin said. “A just society must err on the side of life.”
House Resolution 314 now moves to the full House for further consideration and adoption.
Photo Information: State Rep. Ann Bollin (right) testifies before the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee on Wednesday in support of her resolution affirming the right of patients and families to direct health care decisions. Genevieve Marnon, a representative for Right to Life of Michigan, joined Bollin in testifying.
Rep. Bollin, who served as Brighton Township clerk prior to her election to the House, says changes announced by the Secretary of State Tuesday are not enough to provide Michigan residents with the level of services they deserve.