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.
“I have three other children [in Missouri] and they’re finally safe,” Crosier said tearfully after its passage.
“I seriously had been thinking what would I do if one of them would end up in the ICU. You don’t know what could happen. I mean, it could be something as simple as falling off a bicycle. It could be a 16 year-old getting into a car accident,” said Crosier. “In the back of my mind I’m like, ‘I’m going to have to probably get them to Kansas because they have Simon’s Law,’ and I felt like they were more protected, but I don’t have to worry about that now.”
The bill was sponsored by Buckner Republican Bill Kidd.
“There’s been a lot of tears shed over the last five years as I’ve listened to women from across the nation who have had the tragedy of a Simon in their life, and I came here to make a change,” said Kidd.
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.
“We had to come up with a solution that would be acceptable to say okay, how can we make sure the doctor can’t do this, and yet have the parents involved, because what I really wanted was I wanted a conversation between the doctor and the parents, and I wanted the parents to make the decision,” said Kidd. “It’s easy to say when you talk about it. It’s difficult when you put it into words for law.”
Kidd said this bill might not prevent every situation that would be similar to Simon’s, but now if that plays out again, parents will be able to hold doctors accountable.
“We’re not trying to make it difficult for the doctors and we’re not trying to make it difficult for the families. We’re trying to get everybody to communicate in a very emotional, difficult situation, so that the best thing is done for the child on both sides, and everybody understands,” said Kidd.
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.
“I used to fight more from a position of pain, because it was telling, telling, telling [Simon’s] story, and now I feel like I can fight from a position of triumph, and let’s get the rest of them on board,” said Crosier.
As the final vote on Simon’s Law was taken, Kidd addressed Crosier, saying, “Even though Simon lived a short life, he did not die in vain, and he did not live in vain.”
Crosier agreed, saying “Just look at how many more lives are going to be saved because of him.”