Remember the whole “death panels” debate of ObamaCare? The case of a disabled Texas man with a COVID-19 infection might bring that right back to the fore. Melissa Hickson recorded a conversation with a doctor who refused to treat her quadriplegic husband because he had no “quality of life.” Instead, the 46-year-old Michael Hickson got sent to hospice, where his wife claims he was slowly starved to death rather than treated with Remdesivir.
“We are going to do what we feel is best for him,” the doctor told Melissa, “along with the state.” How can it be best for Hickson to die from a lack of care?
St David’s South Austin Medical Center allegedly refused to treat quadriplegic Michael Hickson, 46, because his disability meant he had “no quality of life.”
He contracted COVID-19 from a staff member in his nursing home, developed pneumonia, and was then hospitalized at St David’s.
Texas Right to Life claimed that he was refused food and treatment for coronavirus there for six days before his virus death on June 11, 2020.
In a recorded conversation between a medic and his wife Melissa, the doctor tells her treating Hickson was futile give his condition.
“Who gets to make that decision whether somebody’s quality of life, if they have a disability that their quality of life is not good?” she can be heard asking in the YouTube video.
The Texan reported that Mrs. Hickson got blindsided by the decision to take him out of the ICU, and more so when told that her husband was stable and recovering. If he was stable and recovering, why move him to hospice? And why cut off his feeding tube?
On June 3, he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). On Friday, June 5, Mrs. Hickson was told Mr. Hickson was not doing well and that she should go to the hospital to visit him. When she arrived, they wouldn’t let her enter his room, but allowed her to FaceTime with him from the hallway.
He was still responsive, puckering his lips when she said “Can I get a kiss?” and answering that he would like her to pray with him, Mrs. Hickson said.
Then on Saturday, she was told by the hospital that he was moved out of the ICU, was stable and breathing on his own, and that hospice care would be calling her. Mrs. Hickson was shaken and shocked, wondering why he would need to go on hospice care if he was stable and recovering.
When she spoke to the hospice representative, she was assured that he could still receive resuscitation and fluids and nutrition through his percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube.
However, the hospital nurse with whom Mrs. Hickson spoke contradicted that. She said that Mr. Hickson would not be receiving nutrition or hydration and that he would not be resuscitated.
That is when the conversation took place with the doctor, who told Mrs. Hickson that her husband had no “quality of life” to maintain and therefore would receive no more care. Part of the conversation can be heard here:
Complicating the issue was a custody fight of sorts over Mr. Hickson. Both his wife Melissa and his sister wanted control over his care and had gone to court in the dispute. The court appointed a guardian ad litem to make decisions for Mr. Hickson while the dispute continued, naming Family Eldercare as the final decider on all health-care issues. Family Eldercare made the decision to send Mr. Hickson to hospice and stop treatments for COVID-19.
That wasn’t all that got stopped, according to Melissa Hickson. While this certainly mades for a tough situation, who thought this was a proper outcome?
The doctor informed Melissa that the decision to withhold care was “what we feel is best for him along with the state, and this is what we decided,” and that “this is the decision between the medical community and the state.”
The doctor explained that he did not wish to intubate Michael, which is what the protocol for administering the treatment drug Remdesivir required. While Melissa agreed that she did not wish to have Michael intubated either, she did not approve of him being moved to hospice and asked for alternative treatments.
While in hospice, Michael did not receive food or medical treatments, and was instead given painkillers until his death six days later, she said. He died from untreated illnesses related to the coronavirus.
Good Lord. If this is true, they literally starved Hickson to death not because of COVID-19 but because of his brain injury. His death is apparently what the St. David’s physician and Family Eldercare thought was “best for the state.” Nor do they care much, Melissa Hickson says:
On Friday morning, the hospice group called her to tell her Mr. Hickson had died Thursday evening and asked if she’d like the name of the funeral home where his body had been taken.
“No one has offered condolences. There has never been an apology or acknowledgment of his death. It’s like they just don’t care,” she said.
Assuming all of this is accurate, it’s not just like they don’t care. It’s that they actually don’t care, didn’t care, and refused to care for or about Michael Hickson. Why? Because he was inconvenient and costly to “the state” and the health care system. Bear in mind too that this all transpired not in an overwhelmed system forced to triage ICU access, but during a period of stable hospitalization usage.
That this fate awaited Michael Hickson in our current system is bad enough. Imagine what it will be like for the rest of us when “the state” controls all these health-care decisions.
Melissa Hickson declared that her husband was “murdered” in this YouTube testimony. Hard to argue otherwise, unless someone comes up with evidence that they gave him food and treatment during that week in hospice.