Texas Health and Safety Code § 166.039. Procedure When Person Has Not Executed or Issued a Directive and Is Incompetent or Incapable of Communication

(a) If an adult qualified patient has not executed or issued a directive and is incompetent or otherwise mentally or physically incapable of communication, the attending physician and the patient's legal guardian or an agent under a medical power of attorney may make a treatment decision that may include a decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment from the patient.

(b) If the patient does not have a legal guardian or an agent under a medical power of attorney, the attending physician and one person, if available, from one of the following categories, in the following priority, may make a treatment decision that may include a decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment:

(1) the patient's spouse;

(2) the patient's reasonably available adult children;

(3) the patient's parents;  or

(4) the patient's nearest living relative.

(c) A treatment decision made under Subsection (a) or (b) must be based on knowledge of what the patient would desire, if known.

(d) A treatment decision made under Subsection (b) must be documented in the patient's medical record and signed by the attending physician.

(e) If the patient does not have a legal guardian and a person listed in Subsection (b) is not available, a treatment decision made under Subsection (b) must be concurred in by another physician who is not involved in the treatment of the patient or who is a representative of an ethics or medical committee of the health care facility in which the person is a patient.

(f) The fact that an adult qualified patient has not executed or issued a directive does not create a presumption that the patient does not want a treatment decision to be made to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment.

(g) A person listed in Subsection (b) who wishes to challenge a treatment decision made under this section must apply for temporary guardianship under Chapter 1251, Estates Code.  The court may waive applicable fees in that proceeding.


FindLaw Codes are provided courtesy of Thomson Reuters Westlaw, the industry-leading online legal research system. For more detailed codes research information, including annotations and citations, please visit Westlaw.

FindLaw Codes may not reflect the most recent version of the law in your jurisdiction. Please verify the status of the code you are researching with the state legislature or via Westlaw before relying on it for your legal needs.