Houston Methodist Hospital still seeking to pull plug on patient

HOUSTON,TX (FOX 26) - Houston's Methodist Hospital is still seeking to pull the plug on a man who is actively requesting that doctors try to save his life.


On December 2nd, Chris Dunn is seen in a video with his mother and attorneys, nodding yes and putting his hands together in prayer, that doctors will try to treat his condition. People who have been able to visit Chris say his health is no better now, but it's also not any worse.

"He's not unconscious. He's never been unsconcious." says Emily Horne with the organization Texas Right to Life. "He's very communicative whenever we're able to ask him questions and talk to him."

Dunn came into the hospital more than 2 months ago with a large growth on his pancreas that is impairing his digestive system.  According to Dunn's mother, Evelyn Kelly, Methodist hospital has not done a biopsy to see if it's a cancerous tumor, but it has communicated with Kelly and other family members that it would be futile to try and save his life.

If Dunn's mother hadn't taken the hospital to court, Methodist it would have discontinued and withheld all life sustaining treatment starting on November 24th. That is according to the letter shared with us by Kelly's attorney, and Texas Right to Life, which has taken up Dunn's cause.

"We are currently helping 4 families in this situation, and we've helped hundreds," Horne says. "This is not just an isolated incident. This happens all over Texas all of the time."

The attorney representing both Kelly and Dunn says the primary problem is a Texas Law.

"The statute allows the hospital to say 'We don't think the remainder of your life is worthwhile. We think we have the right to prematurely terminate your life against your mother's wishes against his own wishes,'" Joe Nixon says, describing the position taken by Methodist Hospital's Bioethics Committee.

The complicating factor now is a dispute over Dunn's guardianship. He lives with Kelly, and she has been his primary caretaker, but the hospital filed a court challenged to her guardianship. Kelly says the challenge now is being made by her ex-husband, Dunn's biological father. Methodist Hospital says it will not try to treat Dunn, or stop life sustaining treatment, until guardianship is determined in court.

Meanwhile Texas Right to Life started a website about Dunn, "helpchrisseechristmas.com," that is growing in followers.

"People are just appalled that this could happen," Horne says.  "There's been a lot of people coming to that page, looking at the updates and praying, and people even sending Christmas cards."

Methodist hospital says it's doctors have always made decisions based on the best interest of the patient, and say some of Dunn's family members agree with the position taken by the hospital.

Fox26 could not reach Dunn's father for comment.

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