The legislative term of Representative Bill Kidd (R-Buckner) is coming to a close. As his final session as a member of the House wound down, Kidd bid his colleagues farewell.
“You will be a picture on the wall, the desk will be given back to someone else, it will be time for you to give it all back. My time has arrived and now it’s time to give it back and go home … it’s been an honor.”
Missouri is set to become the fourth state to enact a law to keep do-not-resuscitate orders from being issued for children without a parent’s knowledge.
The House and Senate both unanimously voted to pass House Bill 138, “Simon’s Law.” It would prohibit a health care facility, nursing home, physician, nurse, or medical staff from putting such an order in a child’s file without permission from a parent or legal guardian. That permission could be written, or given orally in the presence of at least two witnesses.
The bill is named for Simon Crosier who died at three months old. His parents say a DNR order was put on his chart without their knowledge. His parents say when the monitors in his room went off as he died, no medical staff responded and they were left wondering why.
The vote to send the bill to Governor Mike Parson (R) was taken as Simon’s mother, Sheryl Crosier, watched from the side gallery.
Earlier versions of legislation with the same aim met with opposition, including from doctors, nurses, and even other parents, who had concerns about the position those versions would have put them in. Kidd found himself agreeing with many of their perspectives, and worked with all those groups over five years to arrive at this language.
Kidd says he anticipates Governor Parson will sign HB 138 into law. It would then take effect August 28.
Both Kidd and Crosier say divine intervention played a role in bringing them together five years ago before Kidd had been elected, and in Simon’s law becoming law. They note that the first version of the legislation was pre-filed on December 3, 2014, at 10:45 a.m., the date and time that Simon had died five years earlier.
Missouri would be joining Kansas, South Dakota, and Arizona in having a Simon’s Law, and several other states’ legislatures are considering versions of it.
With HB 138 likely on its way to becoming law, Crosier said she will continue to push for passage in other states and at the federal level.
The House is close to voting to prevent do-not-resuscitate orders from being issued for Missouri children without a parent being aware.
House Bill 138 is commonly known as “Simon’s Law.” It would prohibit a health care facility, nursing home, physician, nurse, or medical staff from putting such an order in a child’s file without a parent’s permission. That permission may be written, or given orally in the presence of at least two witnesses.
The bill is named for Simon Crosier, who died at three months old after, his parents say, a DNR order was put on his chart without their knowledge. His parents testified to a House Committee last year that when the monitors in his room went off as he died, they didn’t understand why no medical staff responded to try to save him.
Kidd has offered Simon’s Law in some form for four years. Last year’s version would have required written permission from a parent or legal guardian of a patient under 18 years old before a DNR or similar order could be issued. It was opposed by some parents and medical practitioners, some of whom said forcing a parent to sign off on such a document was “really inhumane.”
Since then, Kidd said he met with hospitals, parents, and doctors to refine the legislation.
By including the ability for two witnesses to attest to a doctor having discussed the situation with parents, Kidd says that onus has been taken off of parents, and that has alleviated some opponents’ concerns. No one testified against HB 138 when it went was heard by a House committee.
Legislation in the Missouri House would lift the requirement, under certain circumstances, that the death of a person under hospice care be investigated.
Backers of House Bill 242 and an amendment added to House Bill 447 say that Missouri law requiring coroners and medical examiners to investigate a death in a home doesn’t account for the increase in the use of hospice care for terminal patients.
The legislation would allow the physician treating a patient or the hospice director to certify when a patient has died due to natural causes relating to a disease or known illness. A coroner or medical examiner must be notified within 24 hours of such a death.
The legislation is personal for at least a couple of representatives. Republican Bill Kidd (Buckner) told his colleagues his wife died after about three weeks in hospice care. He said hospice care allows a terminally ill person and his or her family a great deal of comfort and assistance
“In a hospice situation hospice is there on doctor orders, hospice has their own doctors and physicians that come in and access the patient. They already know – everybody has come to the conclusion that this is a terminal case, and it is not necessary for the coroner to intrude into your private home at such a fragile time,” said Kidd.
Neely’s stand-alone bill, HB 242, has been approved by two House committees and could soon be brought to the floor for debate. HB 447, to which the language of 242 has been amended, has received initial approval in the House and could soon be sent to the Senate.
State lawmakers have heard passionate testimony while being asked to decide what steps should be taken before life-sustaining treatment of a child is ended.
Some are telling state lawmakers state law should require parents’ consent before such treatments can end. Others are urging the opposite. Both say the humane, compassionate, and complete care of children hangs in the balance.
House Bill 1361, known as Simon’s Law, would require written permission from a parent or legal guardian of a patient under 18 years old before a do-not-resuscitate order can be issued for that patient.
The House Committee on Children and Families heard from the parents of Simon Crosier that he died at three months old in a hospital that had a “futility policy,” and after doctors put a DNR order on him without their knowledge.
The committee also heard from Kim and Paul Kosednar, whose 2-year-old son Elias died of interstitial lung disease. They say they were involved with doctors in every decision about the care for their son, and they oppose Simon’s law.
Alissa Johnson with Concerned Women for America told lawmakers about children with mental and physical disabilities who were adopted by her husband’s parents. She said doctors told her in-laws life-sustaining care shouldn’t be given to those children, but those children are now in their teens and twenties.
The sponsor of HB 1361, Independence Republican Bill Kidd, told the committee what happened to Simon and his family was not a unique case. He said Simon’s Law is written to give a voice to children who are not terminally ill.
Under HB 1361, in cases in which parents do not agree on whether to give permission for a termination of care one parent can petition a court to consider the matter. HB 1361’s requirements would not apply if life-sustaining care is deemed “medically inappropriate.”
The committee has not voted on HB 1361. Last year the House voted 117-22 to amend Simon’s Law to Senate Bill 50, but the language was removed by the Senate.