A pro-life advocacy group is actively fighting to defend another Texan against a hospital trying to hasten his death using a rule codified in state law.
In a press release issued on May 27, Texas Right to Life shared the harrowing story of Bill Costea’s fight against Baylor Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas. In mid-April, Bill underwent hospitalization due to heart issues. This Tuesday, his wife of 33 years, Eugenia, was told by Baylor Scott & White Hospital that they plan to end life-sustaining care for Bill, despite her objections.
“Bill is awake, communicates, nods to questions, follows some commands, and reports no pain,” Texas Right to Life stated in their press release.
While the hospital committee finds Bill may have only a few weeks of life left, they intend to speed up his death by invoking the anti-life 10-day rule and remove his ventilator and blood pressure medication.
According to Texas Right to Life, the 10-day rule, found in the Texas Advance Directives Act, allows a hospital committee to end “life-sustaining care” even if the patient is awake and responsive or if he—or his legal surrogate—objects.
“Instead of letting a grieving family grieve, the hospital is taking away Eugenia’s decision-making power and attempting to impose death on her husband,” TXRTL states.
The hospital did not respond to a press inquiry from Texas Scorecard before publication.
Despite being up against “the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in Texas,” Eugenia is committed to protect her husband’s life.
“I love my husband,” she said. “I will fight for his life; I know he would do the same for me.”
She won’t be alone. “Texas Right to Life is committed to protecting the Right to Life of all persons, most especially vulnerable patients such as Bill,” TXRTL said. “For this reason, the Texas Right to Life Patient Advocacy team is doing everything within their power to defend Bill’s Right to Life.”
“Once again, the 10-day rule is about to claim another Texan’s life,” Emily Cook, the attorney representing the Costeas, told Texas Scorecard. “Hospitals think they have unfettered authority to decide who dies and when someone dies. They are wrong. The statute is blatantly unconstitutional, and we look forward to advocating for Bill and his wife.” Attorney Ryan Luna is also representing the couple with Cook.
The last high-profile case in which Texas Right to Life fought a hospital invoking the 10-day rule was when Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth tried to take 9-month-old Tinslee Lewis off of life support, despite the objections of her mother. Cook Children’s stated they believed Tinslee would die in May 2020.
Tinslee’s life was spared when District Judge Alex Kim issued a temporary restraining order blocking Cook Children’s. A lengthy legal battle followed until the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a lower court’s ruling to stand, ensuring the child would continue to receive life-sustaining care. Tinslee is still alive today and is 2 years old.
Legislation filed in the Texas Legislature this session to end the 10-day rule has not been voted on by either the Senate or the House. Texas Right to Life encourages Texans who want to help the Costeas to call Baylor Scott & White – Temple at (254) 724-2111 and ask that they “stop their attack on Bill’s life.”
This article has been updated since publication.