Earlier this month, I wrote that Missouri is again trying to enact a Simon’s Law S.B. 85. Such a law would constrain clinician discretion in medical futility disputes concerning children.
This week, Kansas introduced nearly identical legislation. The key provision is this: “No healthcare facility, nursing home, physician, nurse or medical staff shall withhold, withdraw or place any restrictions on life-sustaining measures for any patient, resident or ward under 18 years of age without the written permission of at least one parent or legal guardian of the patient or ward.”
This seems reasonable, until one considers that many parents will not consent even when the overwhelming medical and ethical consensus is that the burdens of life-sustaining treatment seriously outweigh the benefits (if any).
On the other hand, Kansas providers could still seek guardianship to replace the parent as decision maker, if the facts were egregious enough to show that the parent was clearly not acting in the patient’s best interest.