By Judie Brown
The dictionary defines “halo” as a circle of light. But to those of us in pro-life work, HALO has come to mean something in addition to that circle of light. HALO is the Healthcare Advocacy and Leadership Organization. According to its site, the mission of HALO is “to promote, protect, and advocate for the rights of the medically vulnerable through direct patient and family interactions; through community education and awareness programs; and through promotion and development of concrete ‘life-affirming healthcare’ alternatives for those facing the grave consequences of healthcare rationing and unethical practices, especially those at risk of euthanasia and assisted suicide.”
Now more than ever before, we need an organization like this to defend and protect the vulnerable from those who have adopted the idea that, in too many cases, killing is better than caring. Whether you call it euthanasia, assisted suicide, or misdirected palliative care, people are dying from such practices.
And it is not the elderly alone who are targeted. Newborns and those with disabilities are also on the kill list for some of these people.
Take, for example, the case of four-year-old Clifton. This little boy was so badly battered that he sustained a traumatic brain injury. His condition was so dire that he was airlifted from one Texas hospital to another, but in the end Clifton became a statistic. And as his mother, Sandra Hollier, told Julie Grimstad of HALO: “Clifton spent a total of 5 ½ weeks in the hospital before he was removed from all life-sustaining treatment, against the family’s wishes.”
Note the words “against the family’s wishes.”
This little boy died at the hands of medical professionals who adhered to a deadly law known as the 10-day rule rather than respecting Clifton’s family’s wishes that his care be continued. This case exemplifies the reason that HALO exists. It works to stem the tide of such deadly medical practices by providing help, guidance, and recommendations to families confronting such tragic situations.
In Clifton’s case, for example, his mom “was unaware of Texas Right to Life and the help they offer to families when a loved one’s life is at stake due to the 10-Day Rule. She is now the education associate at Texas Right to Life.” Thanks to HALO, we know about Clifton. And we celebrate his brave mother’s decision to be part of the solution that helps others so that they might no longer ignore the horror of bad laws that take lives.
That is what HALO does every day and why its work is so important to American Life League. It is a pleasure to be able to send our own friends and collaborators who have end-of-life questions to a resource that we know can be helpful in this age of deadly practices.
HALO trains patient advocates who are literally on the front lines helping families and providing guidance and support. Its 24-hour helpline (1-888-221-4256) offers free and confidential information, support, and referrals for patients, their family members, and caregivers who have concerns about the treatment and care a patient is receiving.
As one of HALO’s advisory board members, I am proud to be associated with an organization that puts vulnerable people at the forefront of its lifesaving work. Perhaps as you are reading this you realize that you want to become a patient advocate, perhaps you have a serious question about the care that your own loved one is receiving, or perhaps you want to be kept up to date by being on the HALO mailing list and supporting its work. If any or all of these apply to you, please contact HALO to learn more.
And remember that circles of light shine on everyone, bringing hope and inspiration wherever they go. St. John Paul II knew this very well when he wrote:
The name “Good Samaritan” fits every individual who is sensitive to the sufferings of others, who “is moved” by the misfortune of another. If Christ, who knows the interior of man, emphasizes this compassion, this means that it is important for our whole attitude to others’ suffering. Therefore one must cultivate this sensitivity of heart, which bears witness to compassion towards a suffering person. Sometimes this compassion remains the only or principal expression of our love for and solidarity with the sufferer.
When you stand in solidarity with the suffering, you too will be a circle of light!