T.L. v. Cook Children’s Med. Ctr.
T.L. v. Cook Children’s Med. Ctr. (Texas Court of Appeals, July 24, 2020): An attending physician is not authorized to unilaterally discontinue life-sustaining treatment for a terminally ill minor patient over the objection of his or her parents. Most treatment decisions made by private health care providers do not constitute state action. However, a physician who proffers consent on behalf of his or her minor patient against the objection of the minor’s parents acts on power traditionally and exclusively reserved for the state under the legal doctrine known as parens patriae. When the state’s interests conflict with parents’ rights, the state’s interest prevails only if strict procedural safeguards are followed. The court found that the parent in this case did not receive sufficient procedural safeguards because she lacked reasonable notice or a meaningful opportunity to be heard. Read the full opinion here.