Attorney questions actions at hospital before man’s death

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Terry Mace, the 43-year-old man at the center of life support and care case, has died according to his attorney.

Attorney Stephen Casey said Mace died Tuesday morning after he was placed on life support at Seton Medical Center Williamson following a massive heart attack on March 6.

On March 22, his wife, Yvonne, flew in from Colorado and directed doctors to remove Mace from life support. The couple is also in the midst of a lengthy divorce.

Mace’s parents filed a lawsuit to stop their daughter-in-law from making decisions on his behalf, and won temporary guardianship of their son. Mace’s parents claimed their son was not brain dead and deserved a chance to fight on his own to survive.

“When I went to the hospital [Monday] and identified that he didn’t have an IV in, and the placard on the wall said ‘comfort care, keep me comfortable,” said Casey.

Casey says the family asked about the lack of IV. Casey made it clear he was still gathering facts about what happened before Mace’s death and when the IV may have been removed.

“We just don’t think right now that it was very, very clear (to Mace’s family) that the palliative care or comfort care… included the removal of an IV,” Casey said.

A spokesperson for Seton maintains it followed the family’s wishes.

“We were in close communication with the parents of Mr. Mace from the time they were granted temporary guardianship and abided by their wishes,” said Adrienne Lallo, Director of Communications/Media, Seton Healthcare Family in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Mace’s family members during this difficult time and we will continue to protect and respect their privacy; therefore, we will not be making further comment.”

Associate Professor of Law at Southern Methodist University Tom Mayo spoke with KXAN News online about these types of cases, in general.

Mayo says he helped write part of the Texas law dealing with end-of-life decision making.

“The amount of detail that Texas law requires (a doctor to disclose) is the amount that a reasonable patient, or in this case, a reasonable spokesperson for the patient, a guardian, would want to know. That’s obviously a somewhat vague standard,” said Mayo.

 

 

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