Texas baby removed from life support against mother's wishes

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 Sun Hudson, a six-month old Texas baby died last week when health care providers at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, Texas removed his life support system over the objections of his mother. The action was authorized under the 1999 Futile Care Law which was signed into law by then-Gov. George W. Bush.

Under the Texas Futile Care Law, health care workers are allowed to remove expensive life support for terminally ill patients if the patient or family is unable to pay the medical bills.

Sun Hudson's mother is dealing with the aftermath of that law. "This hospital was considered a miracle hospital. When it came to my son, they gave up in six months," Wanda Hudson told reporters how she was forced to give up medical control of her son. "I talked to him, I told him that I loved him. Inside of me, my son is still alive."

The hospital had blocked the media from the child, despite mother's invitation to see the baby. "I wanted y'all to see my son for yourself. So you could see he was actually moving around. He was conscious," she said.

The event stirred national attention as it sparked comparisons to the Terri Schiavo case in Florida. A victim of severe, and otherwise terminal brain damage, Terri Schiavo's future is locked in a legal battle between her husband who wants to remove life support and her parents, who cite religious reasons for keeping their daughter alive.

Michael Schiavo, husband of Terri Schiavo, was asked about the Hudson situation on the March 21 edition of CNN's Larry King Live. When King asked how Mr. Schiavo felt when he learned that President Bush had signed such a law in Texas while he was governor, Schiavo was at a loss of words.

But Schiavo's lawyer did respond, saying, "Obviously, there's a tremendous amount of hypocrisy there ... it would lead one to believe that a lot of this was politically motivated, and I think that's what the American people have concluded." Schiavo's lawyer echoed the sentiments of Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, a Democrat, who raised the "hypocrisy" question when she first mentioned the 1999 Texas law issue on the House floor last week.

Over the weekend, President Bush signed a special federal law that moved jurisdiction of the Schiavo case out of the state of Florida and into the U.S. federal court system after Florida courts ruled that Michael Schiavo had the right to remove Terri's life support, which includes a feeding tube and intravenous liquids.

After signing the Schiavo Law Sunday, President Bush said, "It is wisest to always err on the side of life."

Sources