Often referred to as “mercy killing,” euthanasia is an intentional act of taking or permitting the taking of a person’s life, generally for health reasons. For instance, some people believe that if a person is terminal, at a point near death, and in extreme pain, it may be more humane to take his or her life in a painless fashion rather than allow the person to continue suffering. As will be seen, however, this is not the position taken by the State of Texas. Bryan estate attorneys can discuss with you more thoroughly what options are available for a person who is suffering, but the following provides a general overview of state laws governing euthanasia.
Euthanasia and How It Differs from Assisted Suicide
Texas Health and Safety Code, Section 166.45-51 states that, in Texas, euthanasia is not condoned or authorized. Further, any act or omission that works toward a person’s death is also illegal, except for allowing a person to die naturally without interference.
Assisted suicide is not legal in this state either, but it is not synonymous with euthanasia. The difference is that, with assisted suicide, a patient is given the means by which to take his own life, while with euthanasia, a doctor or other individual uses a compassionate means to take the person’s life. Euthanasia may consist of injecting a patient with a lethal dose of a drug, such as morphine.
How Texas Views the Withholding of Life-Sustaining Procedures
Texas laws do not regard the removal of life support as euthanasia. Indeed, such procedures are often requested in medical directives. If a patient is incapacitated and thereby unable to make such a request, it is important that a durable power of attorney or living will exist to provide specific instructions toward this end. A proxy named in the living will can make the decision to remove or withhold life support as per these instructions.
For Information about Creating a Living Will
It is very important for anyone setting up an estate plan to create a living will which provides the family with instructions on what types of measures to take to artificially keep the person alive should the need arise. Bryan estate lawyers can help you if you would like more information about living wills. Call Peterson Law Group today to arrange a consultation at 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.