Catholic Hospital Argues Fetus is NOT a person in lawsuit


#1

This report has been posted in the last few hours by Channel 9 News of Denver.

I live in Canon City. It's amazing how quiet this case has been kept. I suspect the complicity of the largely ineffective media here. I can only hope this story wasn't deliberately swept under the rug..

If the Catholic hospital is separate from the Catholic Church, and the Catholic hospital says the fetus is not a person, then the Catholic hospital is not following the teaching of the Catholic Church. St. Thomas More Hospital should be rechristened Centura Health - Canon City, likewise with all of the other Centura Health facilities.

Centura Health should be considered a non-profit, secular organization if the courts side with St, Thomas More Hospital. Centura Health may have roots in hospitals founded by orders of nuns, but they should drop the Catholic affiliation.

I respect the Church's position on abortion and capital punishment. It saddens me as a Catholic that this issue has to be "lawyered" for Centura's advantage. Perhaps Centura has no option but to become a secular organization.


#2

I didn't understand what you were talking about until I read the article. All I can say is, this kind of inconsistency is just crazy and I hope they start getting picketed. Shame on this hospital!:mad:


#3

*The Catholic bishops of Colorado learned recently of the deaths of Lori Stodghill and her two unborn children, which took place at St. Thomas More Hospital in Cañon City, Colo. in 2006. We wish to extend our solidarity and sympathy to Lori's husband Jeremy, and her daughter, Elizabeth. Please be assured of our ongoing prayers.

From the moment of conception, human beings are endowed with dignity and with fundamental rights, the most foundational of which is life.

Catholics and Catholic institutions have the duty to protect and foster human life, and to witness to the dignity of the human person -- particularly to the dignity of the unborn. No Catholic institution may legitimately work to undermine fundamental human dignity.

Catholic Health Initiatives is a Catholic institution which provides health care services in 14 states, providing care to thousands of people annually. Catholic Health Initiatives has been accused by some of undermining the Catholic position on human life in the course of litigation. Today, representatives of Catholic Health Initiatives assured us of their intention to observe the moral and ethical obligations of the Catholic Church.

The Catholic bishops of Colorado are not able to comment on ongoing legal disputes. However, we will undertake a full review of this litigation, and of the policies and practices of Catholic Health Initiatives to ensure fidelity and faithful witness to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila, S.T.L., Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Denver
Most Rev. Michael Sheridan, S.Th.D, Bishop of the Diocese of Colorado Springs
Most Rev. Fernando Isern, Bishop of the Diocese of Pueblo*

Edit: My apologies OP. I see that your link is an actual article, so I think this thread will be fine!


#4

Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land said the hospital failed to live up to its pro-life principles.

"There's a difference between being legal and being right," Land said. "Either a fetus is a person or it's not."

:thumbsup:


#5

Denver, Colo., Jan 25, 2013 / 04:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Colorado's three bishops will examine litigation surrounding Catholic Health Initiatives, after its lawyers allegedly argued in a wrongful-death lawsuit that human fetuses are not persons.

“The Catholic bishops of Colorado are not able to comment on ongoing legal disputes. However, we will undertake a full review of this litigation, and of the policies and practices of Catholic Health Initiatives to ensure fidelity and faithful witness to the teachings of the Catholic Church,” the bishops said Jan. 24.

“Catholic Health Initiatives has been accused by some of undermining the Catholic position on human life in the course of litigation," they added. "Today, representatives of Catholic Health Initiatives assured us of their intention to observe the moral and ethical obligations of the Catholic Church.”

In 2006, Lori Stodghill and her two unborn children died at a hospital operated by Catholic Health Initiatives. Lawyers for the health system argued that Colorado's wrongful death legislation does not apply to fetuses.

Attorney David Woodruff, one of those representing the plaintiff, told CNA Jan. 24 that “a lawyer doesn't typically take a position on behalf of a client without the client approving it.”

“I can't really speak for the relationship there, what actually occurred between lawyers and adjusters – I wasn't there and it would be inappropriate for me to comment – but we as lawyers aren't supposed to be conveying a message in the world that doesn't directly reflect our client's wishes...that's why it's so surprising.”

In their statement Thursday, the Colorado bishops said that from “the moment of conception, human beings are endowed with dignity and with fundamental rights, the most foundational of which is life.”

“Catholics and Catholic institutions have the duty to protect and foster human life, and to witness to the dignity of the human person – particularly to the dignity of the unborn,” they said.

“No Catholic institution may legitimately work to undermine fundamental human dignity.”

On Jan. 1, 2006, Jeremy Stodghill took his wife Lori, 28 weeks pregnant, to St. Thomas More Hospital's emergency room in Cañon City. She was complaining of nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath. There, she suffered a heart attack due to a blood clot which traveled to her lungs.

Her obstetrician, Pelham Staples, was on-call that day, but failed to arrive at the hospital. Both Lori and her unborn sons, Samuel and Zachary, died.

A nurse listened for the boys' heartbeats, and not hearing any, doctors decided against performing an emergency C-section.

Stodghill chose to sue the hospital, its owner Catholic Health Initiatives, Staples, and the emergency room doctor for the wrongful death of his family members.

In defending Catholic Health Initiatives, their lawyers have argued that no act could have saved Lori's life. But they have also argued that the 28-week old fetuses are not human persons.

“Catholic Health argued...that it could not be held liable for the wrongful death of a fetus, because a fetus is not a person until it is born alive,” according to a legal document filed Sept. 27, 2012, by Stodghill's attorneys.

Only after Catholic Health Initiatives was the first defendant to advance this argument – that a human fetus is not a person – did the two physicians raise the same contention, Beth Krulewitch, one of Stodgehill's attorneys, wrote to Colorado's appellate court Aug. 10, 2011.

According to the Westword, one of the defendants' lawyers, Jason Langley, argued in a brief that the judges “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...therefore Plaintiffs cannot maintain wrongful death claims based on two unborn fetuses.”

In a Jan. 24 statement, Catholic Health Initiatives stated that, “In this case, St. Thomas More, Centura Health and Catholic Health Initiatives, as Catholic organizations, are in union with the moral teachings of the Church.”

Catholic Health Initiatives did not answer specific questions, though they added that “first and foremost, our heartfelt sympathies have always been with the Stodghill family as a result of these tragic circumstances.”

Stodghill's attorney's have argued that because the fetuses were viable – which none of the defendants has disputed – their father should be able to sue for their wrongful death.

Catholic Health Initiatives have won two cases in the saga so far.

On Dec. 5, 2010, Fremont County District Court judge David Thorson dismissed Stodghill's lawsuit. Thorson said that “a fetus is not a 'person' for purposes of wrongful death liability,” according to an appeal filed by Stodghill's attorneys.

Stodghill appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals. That three-judge panel decided on Aug. 16, 2012, to affirm the district court judge's decision. The appellate judges affirmed because they found there was “a lack of evidence” the fetuses died because of negligence on the doctors' part.

Following this decision, Stodghill has appealed to the state's supreme court. He asked that the Colorado Supreme Court decide “the issue that the Court of Appeals refused to decide,” whether physicians are immune to malpractice suits when their negligence leads to the death of a viable fetus before its birth.

Stodghill is awaiting to hear whether or not they decide to hear the case – which has significant implications for the liability of physicians when a viable fetus in their care dies before birth.

feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/catholicnewsagency/dailynews?d=yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/catholicnewsagency/dailynews/~4/lBIPTH1SNsE

Full article...


#6

Catholic Bishops To Investigate Catholic Hospital Group That Argued In Lawsuit That Fetuses Are Not People

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.

(See the original story on the hospital and lawsuit as reported by The Colorado Independent's John Tomasic

.)

On Thursday evening, the Catholic bishops of Colorado released the following statement:

The Catholic bishops of Colorado learned recently of the deaths of Lori Stodghill and her two unborn children, which took place at St. Thomas More Hospital in Cañon City, Colo. in 2006. We wish to extend our solidarity and sympathy to Lori's husband Jeremy, and her daughter, Elizabeth. Please be assured of our ongoing prayers.
From the moment of conception, human beings are endowed with dignity and with fundamental rights, the most foundational of which is life.

Catholics and Catholic institutions have the duty to protect and foster human life, and to witness to the dignity of the human person -- particularly to the dignity of the unborn. No Catholic institution may legitimately work to undermine fundamental human dignity.

Catholic Health Initiatives is a Catholic institution which provides health care services in 14 states, providing care to thousands of people annually. Catholic Health Initiatives has been accused by some of undermining the Catholic position on human life in the course of litigation. Today, representatives of Catholic Health Initiatives assured us of their intention to observe the moral and ethical obligations of the Catholic Church.

The Catholic bishops of Colorado are not able to comment on ongoing legal disputes. However, we will undertake a full review of this litigation, and of the policies and practices of Catholic Health Initiatives to ensure fidelity and faithful witness to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila, S.T.L., Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Denver
Most Rev. Michael Sheridan, S.Th.D, Bishop of the Diocese of Colorado Springs
Most Rev. Fernando Isern, Bishop of the Diocese of Pueblo

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


#7

Colorado's three bishops have responded to reports that a Catholic hospital argued in court that an unborn child should not be considered a "person" for purposes of a wrongful-death ...

More...


#8

I posted an article about this situation yesterday, and it was deleted. Hmmmm...wonder why this one is different.....


#9

[quote="Lucky7, post:3, topic:312507"]
I know that similar threads have been closed because it is not "news", but I just wanted to post that the diocese has responded to this issue (hoping this will now be considered news?):

*The Catholic bishops of Colorado learned recently of the deaths of Lori Stodghill and her two unborn children, which took place at St. Thomas More Hospital in Cañon City, Colo. in 2006. We wish to extend our solidarity and sympathy to Lori's husband Jeremy, and her daughter, Elizabeth. Please be assured of our ongoing prayers.

From the moment of conception, human beings are endowed with dignity and with fundamental rights, the most foundational of which is life.

Catholics and Catholic institutions have the duty to protect and foster human life, and to witness to the dignity of the human person -- particularly to the dignity of the unborn. No Catholic institution may legitimately work to undermine fundamental human dignity.

Catholic Health Initiatives is a Catholic institution which provides health care services in 14 states, providing care to thousands of people annually. Catholic Health Initiatives has been accused by some of undermining the Catholic position on human life in the course of litigation. Today, representatives of Catholic Health Initiatives assured us of their intention to observe the moral and ethical obligations of the Catholic Church.

The Catholic bishops of Colorado are not able to comment on ongoing legal disputes. However, we will undertake a full review of this litigation, and of the policies and practices of Catholic Health Initiatives to ensure fidelity and faithful witness to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila, S.T.L., Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Denver
Most Rev. Michael Sheridan, S.Th.D, Bishop of the Diocese of Colorado Springs
Most Rev. Fernando Isern, Bishop of the Diocese of Pueblo*

Edit: My apologies OP. I see that your link is an actual article, so I think this thread will be fine!

[/quote]

It was news before the Bishops said anything. I posted a news article yesterday on it and it was deleted without explanation-the only reason I can see is that the Bishops were not part of that article.


#10

I hope while the Colorado bishops are at it, they review hospital policies for end of life care as well. Colorado is one of the “assisted suicide” states, and end of life treatment and care frequently pales in comparison with abortion, but is just as valid a pro-life issue.

I can’t imagine a Catholic hospital permitting assisted suicide, but treatment protocols for pain management, basic nursing measures, and differentiating life support from ordinary means of support probably should undergo periodic review, particularly for debilitated people who are not suffering from a terminal illness.


#11

more here

denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22445064/bishops-will-review-catholic-hospital-defense-that-fetuses

draw title from NOR: Catholic hospital argues that fetuses aren't persons


#12

Bottom line is that the mother and the unborn children are dead. I don’t read anywhere where choices were made to save one or the other. Or is this another legal-gotcha game where the amount collected depends on definitions? We know where that motive eventually takes us.


#13

THis attorney's argument is shameful. How did he get this past the hospital. I can only hope that they were unaware of what he was going to present.

It is the height of hypocrisy.


#14

[quote="Seeker1961, post:9, topic:312507"]
It was news before the Bishops said anything. I posted a news article yesterday on it and it was deleted without explanation-the only reason I can see is that the Bishops were not part of that article.

[/quote]

I think the moderator considered the source you cited, The Huffington Post (where I first saw the story), as a blog. Their source, The Colorado Independent is the source that appears to have done the original reporting on this story. I'm not sure if that outlet is considered a blog or not.

I risk going off thread here and turning this into a journalism symposium. The main thing that I think is important is that we not sweep issues of hypocrisy under the rug. Many of the main tenets of Catholicism are not hypocritical and show good logic, such as the defense of life, whether that life is a fetus or someone who is facing the death penalty. If our Catholic institutions are unable or unwilling to walk the Catholic faith, then they should be cut loose and no longer considered Catholic affiliated organizations.


#15

[quote="iowegian3, post:14, topic:312507"]
I think the moderator considered the source you cited, The Huffington Post (where I first saw the story), as a blog. Their source, The Colorado Independent is the source that appears to have done the original reporting on this story. I'm not sure if that outlet is considered a blog or not.

I risk going off thread here and turning this into a journalism symposium. The main thing that I think is important is that we not sweep issues of hypocrisy under the rug. Many of the main tenets of Catholicism are not hypocritical and show good logic, such as the defense of life, whether that life is a fetus or someone who is facing the death penalty. ** If our Catholic institutions are unable or unwilling to walk the Catholic faith, then they should be cut loose and no longer considered Catholic affiliated organizations.**

[/quote]

Amen.


#16

[quote="iowegian3, post:14, topic:312507"]
I think the moderator considered the source you cited, The Huffington Post (where I first saw the story), as a blog. Their source, The Colorado Independent is the source that appears to have done the original reporting on this story. I'm not sure if that outlet is considered a blog or not.

I risk going off thread here and turning this into a journalism symposium. The main thing that I think is important is that we not sweep issues of hypocrisy under the rug. Many of the main tenets of Catholicism are not hypocritical and show good logic, such as the defense of life, whether that life is a fetus or someone who is facing the death penalty. If our Catholic institutions are unable or unwilling to walk the Catholic faith, then they should be cut loose and no longer considered Catholic affiliated organizations.

[/quote]

This is a private site and the mods can do what they wish-but it does get kind of obvious when threads are deleted or mysteriously closed every time the subject or discussion goes in a direction that makes the Church look bad.

Yes, the source was Huff Po-but the article included a link to the newspaper that broke the story. But you're right-the real point here is the hypocrisy of screaming about HHS and not wanting to provide insurance coverage for employees who may or may not share their belief system, and using the argument that a fetus is NOT a person.

What the whole thing says to me is that the REAL god is MONEY. "We don't want to spend money on insurance coverage, and we don't want to have to pay money out in a lawsuit."


#17

But when it came to mounting a defense in the Stodghill case, Catholic Health’s lawyers effectively turned the Church directives on their head. Catholic organizations have for decades fought to change federal and state laws that fail to protect “unborn persons,” and Catholic Health’s lawyers in this case had the chance to set precedent bolstering anti-abortion legal arguments. Instead, they are arguing state law protects doctors from liability concerning unborn fetuses on grounds that those fetuses are not persons with legal rights.

:eek: I have to admit that even I was shocked by this.


#18

[quote="ringil, post:13, topic:312507"]
THis attorney's argument is shameful. How did he get this past the hospital. I can only hope that they were unaware of what he was going to present.

It is the height of hypocrisy./QUOT

If this is true I agree 100% with you. Hypocrisy of this depth can only happen if we do not speak out. Why do we do this to ourselves. Our church leaders carry a heavy burden, lets not add to it with hypocrisy.

[/quote]


#19

The deaths happened in 2006 and according to reports he filed suit 2 years later. The appeal was decided Aug 16, 2012. Interesting that it's just now making headlines.

District court opinion

Oral Arguments on Appeal - April 23, 2011 Stoghill v Pelnar

It is rather shocking they would argue against Church law, but they are in a civil court, Church law doesn't apply. :shrug: Unborn children are not "persons" under civil law...yet.

Here's more information...

Is a fetus a person? The Colorado Supreme Court may have to decide

It appears that the children may have already died by the time a c-section could have been performed. Terrible situation all around.


#20

Lawyers are paid to argue law as it is, not as how their clients might want it to be.


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