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Wed Jan 23, 2013, 05:30 PM

In malpractice case, Catholic hospital argues fetuses aren’t people

Lawsuit against Catholic Health Initiatives appealed to Colorado Supreme Court

By John Tomasic
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 8:54 am

Lori Stodghill was 31-years old, seven-months pregnant with twin boys and feeling sick when she arrived at St. Thomas More hospital in Cañon City on New Year’s Day 2006. She was vomiting and short of breath and she passed out as she was being wheeled into an examination room. Medical staff tried to resuscitate her but, as became clear only later, a main artery feeding her lungs was clogged and the clog led to a massive heart attack. Stodghill’s obstetrician, Dr. Pelham Staples, who also happened to be the obstetrician on call for emergencies that night, never answered a page. His patient died at the hospital less than an hour after she arrived and her twins died in her womb.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Stodghill’s husband Jeremy, a prison guard, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit on behalf of himself and the couple’s then-two-year-old daughter Elizabeth. Staples should have made it to the hospital, his lawyers argued, or at least instructed the frantic emergency room staff to perform a caesarian-section. The procedure likely would not have saved the mother, a testifying expert said, but it may have saved the twins.

The lead defendant in the case is Catholic Health Initiatives, the Englewood-based nonprofit that runs St. Thomas More Hospital as well as roughly 170 other health facilities in 17 states. Last year, the hospital chain reported national assets of $15 billion. The organization’s mission, according to its promotional literature, is to “nurture the healing ministry of the Church” and to be guided by “fidelity to the Gospel.” Toward those ends, Catholic Health facilities seek to follow the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Catholic Church authored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Those rules have stirred controversy for decades, mainly for forbidding non-natural birth control and abortions. “Catholic health care ministry witnesses to the sanctity of life ‘from the moment of conception until death,’” the directives state. “The Church’s defense of life encompasses the unborn.”

The directives can complicate business deals for Catholic Health, as they can for other Catholic health care providers, partly by spurring political resistance. In 2011, the Kentucky attorney general and governor nixed a plan in which Catholic Health sought to merge with and ultimately gain control of publicly funded hospitals in Louisville. The officials were reacting to citizen concerns that access to reproductive and end-of-life services would be curtailed. According to The Denver Post, similar fears slowed the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth’s plan over the last few years to buy out Exempla Lutheran Medical Center and Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center in the Denver metro area.

http://coloradoindependent.com/126808/in-malpractice-case-catholic-hospital-argues-fetuses-arent-people

Expediency trumps doctrine.

8 replies, 1287 views

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Reply In malpractice case, Catholic hospital argues fetuses aren’t people (Original post)
rug Jan 2013 OP
hedgehog Jan 2013 #1
rug Jan 2013 #2
olegramps Jan 2013 #7
UrbScotty Jan 2013 #3
rug Jan 2013 #4
rug Jan 2013 #5
No Vested Interest Jan 2013 #6
rug Jan 2013 #8

Response to rug (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 07:21 PM

1. "Expediency trumps doctrine" - that's been the standard in too many cases -

look how the bishops react to victims of pedophilia!

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 07:23 PM

2. In this instance, I have to blame the lawyers.

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Response to rug (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 06:06 PM

7. I find it difficult to accept that the bishops didn't have any knowledge of this. It seems strange.

Perhaps they didn't but, I will have to wait and see what will be the outcome of this. The lawyers didn't act in a vacuum without discussing the case with the hospital staff and without their approval.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:04 AM

3. Update:

The bishops of Colorado are vowing to undertake a "full review" of the "policies and practices" a Catholic health nonprofit that has argued in medical malpractice lawsuit against it for the death two unborn children that fetuses are not people.

Catholic Health Initiatives, which runs St. Thomas More hospital in Cañon City, Colo., made headlines this week for its surprising line of defense against the lawsuit, which was filed husband of the women who was pregnant with unborn twins and in its care (the woman died with the babies in her womb). Catholic social teaching says that fetuses are people -- the argument is part of the church's strong pro-life and anti-abortion positions.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/24/catholic-bishops-investigate-hospital-fetus_n_2546353.html

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Response to UrbScotty (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:35 AM

4. Thanks!

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 09:09 AM

5. UPDATE from the Plaintiffs

Cañon City man suing Catholic hospital reacts to bishops' concerns

Posted: 01/25/2013 06:30:14 PM MST
January 26, 2013 6:50 AM GMT
Updated: 01/25/2013 11:50:05 PM MST
By Electa Draper
The Denver Post

Jeremy Stodghill said Friday he's surprised Colorado's three Catholic bishops have said they'll review defense arguments given by Catholic Health Initiatives against his medical-malpractice claims related to the 2006 death of his 31-year-old wife, Lori, and their unborn twin sons.

"Apparently the bishops just heard about this. I find it surprising," Stodghill said by telephone from Cañon City, where he works as a prison corrections officer.

Stodghill, 41, and his 9-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, are plaintiffs in a lawsuit he filed almost two years after his wife died at St. Thomas More Hospital. She was seven months pregnant. She suffered a blocked artery in her lung and went into cardiac arrest.

Doctors couldn't save Lori and decided against a cesarian section to try to save the twins. Stodghill sued because he believes they should have performed the C-section.

http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22453170/ca-ntilde-city-man-suing-catholic-hospital-reacts

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Response to rug (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 12:39 PM

6. Why didn't the doctors try to save the twins?

The doctors were there on the site and saw what was happening.
Hope their reasons were valid and good.
Perhaps the infants were not showing signs of life. OTOH, perhaps the doctors were negligent.
We don't know.

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Response to No Vested Interest (Reply #6)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 09:17 PM

8. That's a very good question. One of the complaints is they didn't do an emergency c-section.

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