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House passes Bill to make dying children’s final directive enforceable outside of Hospitals

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, May 2, 2017, the Alabama House of Representatives passed HB387 which would make the final directives for children receiving palliative care in their final months of life enforceable. House Bill 387 was sponsored by State Representative April Weaver (R-Shelby County).

Rep. April Weaver is a nurse and the Chairman of the House Health Committee. Rep. Weaver said that her bill was known as the Alex Hoover bill. Alex is a teenage who is dying from congestive heart failure. Alex wanted to go to school and spend his last days as a normal teen. The school however said that they could not honor his final directive that they not resuscitate Alex if he were to have a heart failure on school property.

Rep. Weaver said that Alabama law governing final directives only applies to adults and does not apply to minors, thus the school systems feel that they are required to ignore the directive and give whatever care is necessary. HB387 changes that and gives the school systems or wherever the dying child might be immunity from civil liability if they follow the terms of the order in an emergency.

Rep. Weaver said that, “If they are following the order like it is written they are good.”

Rep. Weaver said, “We owe it to the children who are dying to take care of them.”

The order would have to be written by a doctor and this would apply only for a terminally ill child where death is expected in the next six months. This is necessary so that terminally ill children will not be either over treated or under treated. This gives the first responders a very direct order to follow. The doctor who is taking care of the terminally ill child is who writes the order.

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The bill sets up a commission of experts with authority to write the rules for these final directives for children. Rep. Weaver agreed to amend the bill to include racial and urban/rural diversity language in the compositon of the board.

HB387 passed unanimously 98 to 0. However the House Black Legislative Caucus still filibustered the bill for over three hours because they were angry because the House passed SB60, the Memorials Preservation Act on Thursday and because they did not like the redistricting plan passed early that day by the Joint Committee on Reapportionment. Republican were forced to invoke cloture to shut off the debate.

State Representative Mary Moore (D-Birmingham) accused the Republican supermajority of perpetuating White Supremacy.

The Alex Hoover Act now goes to the Alabama Senate for their consideration.

 

 

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Written By

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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