'They're playing God': Texas mom sues hospital for deciding to end life-sustaining treatment for her son

Christopher Dunn in the hospital(Texas Right to Life)

A Texas mom has filed a lawsuit against a hospital over its decision to discontinue providing life-sustaining treatment to her son, calling it "in the best interest of the patient."

Evelyn Kelly sued Houston Methodist Hospital over the case of his son Christopher Dunn, 46, who has been confined in the hospital for two months after a mass of tissue was found in his pancreas. The non-cancerous mass has affected his small intestine, liver and kidneys, according to Christian News Network.

Dunn worked as a sheriff's deputy but had no insurance when he was hospitalised. He's on a ventilator but can communicate with hand gestures or moving his head.

Last Nov. 13, J. Richard Cheney, head of the hospital's bioethics committee, wrote a letter to Kelly and Dunn to say that "the committee has decided that life-sustaining treatment is medically inappropriate for Chris and that all treatments other than those needed to keep him comfortable should be discontinued and withheld."

Kelly said the hospital's decision will surely result in his son's death.

"The hospital wants to turn Chris' nutrients and extra air off and they are playing God. They want to kill my son. They say there is nothing else they can do for him, but I don't believe that. When they found out that Chris did not have insurance, they said they were done," she told Breitbart.

According to the Texas Advance Directives Act of 1999, "[i]f the patient or the person responsible for the health care decisions of the patient is requesting life-sustaining treatment that the attending physician has decided and the review process has affirmed is inappropriate treatment," the patient will be kept alive for 10 days, and on the 11th day, doctors are permitted to discontinue treatment, unless the patient is transferred to another doctor or facility."

"The physician and the health care facility are not obligated to provide life-sustaining treatment after the 10th day after the written decision," the law read. Pro-life groups want the law repealed.

Kelly has hired a lawyer. In a video released on Dec. 2, Dunn was shown clasping his palms as if to say "pray for me."

"Chris, we're trying to ensure that the hospital continues giving you good care. Do you want to stay alive?" attorney Joe Nixon asks Dunn, who replied by nodding his head and putting his hands together in prayer.

"We're going to pray for you, too," Nixon said.

A court has granted two injunctions against the hospital's decision.

For Kelly, the case is not only about his son.

"This is bigger than Chris, and if other people don't think that this can happen to your son or daughter, then it sure can. If they can do it to Chris, ... they can do it to anyone," she said.

In a statement, the hospital said, "We are working with the courts to get guidance on who has legal guardianship of the patient."

"Within the patient's family there is disagreement on the appropriate end-of-life care for this patient. We feel strongly that every decision we have made is in the best interest of the patient, and the Houston Methodist staff works hard and compassionately every day to help families who are facing difficult end-of-life issues," it said.