Thursday, January 31, 2013

Left Side of the Aisle #93 - Part 4

Catholic hospital argues fetuses are not "unborn children" to dodge liability

There is a sort-of-related footnote to the previous item, since we are in fact talking about abortion and the right to an abortion.

On New Year’s Day 2006, Lori Stodghill, seven-months pregnant with twins, arrived at St. Thomas More hospital in CaƱon City, Colorado. It turned out she was having a massive heart attack. Her obstetrician, Dr. Pelham Staples, who was also the obstetrician on call for emergencies that night, never answered a page. Lori Stodghill died less than an hour after she arrived at the hospital; her twin fetuses died with her.

Her husband Jeremy filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Staples, arguing he should have made it to the hospital or at the very least should have instructed the ER staff to perform a C-section. It wouldn't have saved her, but it would have given birth to the twins, perhaps saving them.

The lead defendant in the case is Catholic Health Initiatives, a hospital conglomerate that runs St. Thomas More Hospital and roughly 170 other health facilities in 17 states. Its mission, according to its own literature, is to “nurture the healing ministry of the Church” and to be guided by “fidelity to the Gospel” based on the moral and ethical directives of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

But when it came to mounting a defense in the Stodghill case, the corporation's lawyers are arguing that the court, quoting the brief,
should not overturn the long-standing rule in Colorado that the term ‘person,’ as is used in the Wrongful Death Act, encompasses only individuals born alive. Colorado state courts define ‘person’ under the Act to include only those born alive. Therefore Plaintiffs cannot maintain wrongful death claims based on two unborn fetuses.
Now the truth is, that may be legally correct. Catholic Health Initiatives has won in lower court. But the idea of this Catholic institution, claiming fealty to the directives of the Conference of Catholic Bishops, the idea of this Catholic institution in essence going "fetuses are children! Unborn children! Save the unborn children! ... Um, unless it's going to cost us money," the gross, rancid, hypocrisy of that just stinks to, well, to high heaven.


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