Tag: catholic hospitals

Bioethics Blogs

Religious exemptions to assisted dying harm patients

Stuart Chambers argues that faith-based institutions should not be ‘conscientiously objecting’ to medical assistance in dying.

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Since the passing of Bill C-14 “An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying),” the debate over negative and positive rights has resurfaced. Assisted dying advocates emphasize negative rights. They insist that the state should refrain from interfering in the intimate personal decisions of its citizens. However, they also make claims about positive rights insofar as the state has an obligation to provide the resources—hospitals, staff, drugs—required to fulfill a dignified death. Without both types of rights — negative and positive — the Act is groundless. When faith-based hospitals demand religious exemptions from medical assistance in dying, they are, thereby, undermining personal dignity. The result is increased vulnerability and suffering for patients.

For reasons of conscience, individual health care professionals may refrain from providing end-of-life services. There is nothing in the Act, however, that remotely suggests that publicly-funded hospitals are exempt from the responsibility to provide medical assistance in dying.  This has not stopped faith-based institutions from imposing their theological worldview on their patients. In December 2015, the Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario rejected any exception for physician-assisted death in its institutions and would not “directly or explicitly” refer a patient to get the medical procedure elsewhere.

Concordia Hospital

This religious bias, however, was not in sync with the attitudes of Ontarians. When polled in October 2016, 57% of Ontario residents disapproved of the position of Catholic hospitals on medical assistance in dying.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Abortion-free spaces. The United States rules in favour of conscientious objection in Catholic hospitals

Catholic hospitals will not have to perform abortions, which is a legal victory in the United States for the cause of conscientious objection to abortion. A Michigan court has dismissed the lawsuit of a pro-abortion association against Trinity Health Corporation, a group of hospitals dependent on the Catholic Church, for refusing to carry out abortions. The 86 medical centres of the institution can continue to be abortion-free spaces in the United States healthcare system (Bioética y libros. 13-IV-2016).

La entrada Abortion-free spaces. The United States rules in favour of conscientious objection in Catholic hospitals aparece primero en Observatorio de Bioética, UCV.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Decision Making for Unrepresented Patients Webinar

On October 13, 2015 (10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT),  the California Hospital Association is offering a webinar on “Decision Making for Unrepresented Patients.”

On June 24, the Alameda County Superior Court found unconstitutional a California law that permits skilled-nursing facilities (SNFs) to use interdisciplinary teams to make medical decisions for patients who lack capacity and have no one to make decisions for them. While the law applies to SNFs, many hospital interdisciplinary teams have also been operating under a model policy developed by the California Hospital Association, the California Medical Association and the Alliance of Catholic Hospitals, which is based the SNF law.

It is unclear whether the decision will be appealed. However, to protect patient rights, SNFs and hospitals should revise their policies and procedures. This webinar will explain the implications of the case, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform v. Chapman, and how policies and procedures should be revised to comply. An updated model policy for consent for treatment of unrepresented patients will be provided along with other tools to operationalize the new process.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Elective or life-saving? Catholic hospitals and the ban on tubal ligation

Tags: Doctor-Patient Relationships, Ethics and Morality, Health Care Policy, Patient Care, Religion, Reproductive Medicine, Women’s Reproductive Rights

A Catholic hospital came under fire recently for stating that it would not permit doctors to perform a tubal ligation during a c-section scheduled for October.  According to news reports (including an article written by the patient herself), the pregnant patient has a brain tumor, and her doctor have advised her that another pregnancy could be life-threatening.  Her doctor has recommended that she have a tubal ligation at the time of her c-section.  While my knowledge about this hospital, this case, and the participants is limited to what has been reported in the media, it raises an interesting question: in our pluralistic society, where conscientious objection is respected while maintaining a patient’s right to a certain standard of care, is it ethical to allow a religiously-affiliated health care institution to refuse to provide certain treatments it finds morally objectionable?

As background, the Catholic Church has historically been outspoken on bioethical issues and has a strong and robust bioethical teaching.  Catholic hospitals are governed by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs), a document promulgated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that clearly articulates the bioethical policies that must be followed in a health care institution based on the Church’s moral teachings.  It explains the Church’s teaching against direct sterilization as a method of birth control based on the principle of double effect.  “Direct sterilization of either men or women, whether permanent or temporary, is not permitted in a Catholic health care institution.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Does religion deserve a place in secular medicine?

By Brian D. Earp

The latest issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics is out, and in it, Professor Nigel Biggar—an Oxford theologian—argues that “religion” should have a place in secular medicine (click here for a link to the article).

Some people will feel a shiver go down their spines—and not only the non-religious. After all, different religions require different things, and sometimes they come to opposite conclusions. So whose religion, exactly, does Professor Biggar have in mind, and what kind of “place” is he trying to make a case for?

When one thinks of stories like the 2012 death of a woman in Ireland due to septicemia after being denied an abortion (“This is a Catholic country,” she was reportedly told by medical staff), one is reminded of the ways in which some people’s religious beliefs can have profound (even fatal) consequences for others who may not share those same beliefs. As Mother Jones reported in 2013:

A growing number of patients are finding their health care options governed by [religious] guidelines as Catholic hospitals, long major players in the health care market, have been on a merger streak, acquiring everything from local hospital systems to medical practices, nursing homes, and health insurance plans.

In the U.S. context, at least, Catholic hospitals are required to follow health care directives handed down by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops—a group described as “celibate older men who have become increasingly conservative over the past few decades” by the author of the Mother Jones piece.

What are the implications?

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Cardinal Dolan on the Ethical Questions of Our Time & Generation (Full Text of the Interview)

Cardinal Dolan (center) with Michael Menconi FCRH '14 (left) and Ken Ochs FCRH '14 (right)

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York (center) with Michael Menconi FCRH ’15 (left) and Ken Ochs FCRH ’15 (right)

 

On Thursday, June 5, 2014, Fordham University’s Center for Ethics Education Ethics and Society student editors Michael Menconi (FCRH ’15) and Ken Ochs (FCRH ’15) interviewed Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York. Cardinal Dolan is former President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, a member of the Board of Trustees at the Catholic University of America, past chairman of Catholic Relief Services, and he also serves on the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization and Pontifical Council for Social Communications in Rome. His Eminence and the editors were joined by Father Thomas Berg, a moral theologian and advisor to Cardinal Dolan, at St. Joseph’s Seminary of the Archdiocese of New York for the interview.

Ochs: Thank you once again for having us. We would like to get started with our first question. You have had a great deal of interaction and dialogue with young people, and college students, particularly Fordham students. You’ve been to our university many times since you’ve been installed as Archbishop of New York. What values—ethical values, religious values, societal values perhaps—do you believe are most important for those in our generation to hold and put into practice?

His Eminence: Well, first of all, thank you for reminding me of my extraordinarily happy visits to colleges, beginning with your own Fordham University. Those have been magnificently uplifting occasions—and the more, the merrier. Fordham’s president, Father Joseph McShane has been very diligent in inviting me to visit often.  I

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.