“Jesse’s Law” Advances in House

May 2, 2009 by  

Life protections for incapacitated persons are closer to passage after HB 2616 passed a preliminary floor vote this week in the House.  When passed, judges will have clearer standards by which to make life and death determinations when there is a dispute and no advanced directive – here is the genesis of the bill:

‘Jesse’s Law’ is based on the real-life story of Jesse Ramirez who was involved in a serious car accident in 2007 that left him in a coma.  Only ten days after the accident, Jesse was removed from food and fluid and transferred to hospice, without any neurological examination.  After Jesse had gone without food and water for five days, his feeding tube was restored, and his family, through legal intervention, was able to have him examined by a neurologist. 

Because of the neurological exam revealing Jesse’s responsiveness, Jesse was given another chance at life.

Jesse is now almost fully recovered, living on his own, walking, talking, eating…. living life.  The results of the neurological exam were crucial to saving Jesse’s life.

“HB 2616 only addresses those situations where there is not a healthcare power of attorney or other written healthcare directive and a court-appointed guardian has decided to withdraw artificial administration of food and fluid.   These requirements are simply safeguards in the court proceedings for patients who have not already expressed their wishes in writing,” according to the Center for Arizona Policy, who did the hefty legal work on this complicated issue. 

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