Continuing the close reading of the Complaint in Means v US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
One startling item is # 38, on page 6, in the sequence in which the Complaint describes the chain of events. This is about the second time the hospital sent Means home.
38 After Plaintiff’s temperature went down, MHP sent Plaintiff home again. At the time MHP sent Plaintiff home, Plaintiff’s treating physician suspected she had chorioamnionitis, a significant bacterial infection that can cause serious damage to a woman’s health, including infertility and even death. However, MHP did not inform Plaintiff of this possible infection.
Wow. The physician suspected Means had chorioamnionitis, and didn’t tell her and didn’t treat her. The physician didn’t even admit her.
That’s just staggering.
And yet – when a public health educator in Muskegon working on a federally funded public health surveillance project on infant and fetal mortality discovered the case along with four others, and brought them to the attention of MHP during a meeting with the Vice President of Mission Services of MHP, Joseph O’Meara, O’Meara was fine with the whole setup. Item 57, on page 8:
57 Mr. O’Meara explained to the public health educator that upon review of Plaintiff’s chart by a MHP physician, MHP’s decision not to induce labor was proper because Defendant USCCB’s Directives prohibited MHP from inducing labor in that situation.
A piece of shocking medical malpractice was “proper” because the bishops.
Items 69 and 70 on pages 10-11.
69 Directive 45’s prohibition of “material cooperation” with respect to the provision of pregnancy termination services directs Catholic health care services to refrain from informing patients about the availability of and/or need for pregnancy termination procedures if the fetus is not viable.
70 Directive 45 does not allow providers at Catholic health care services to inform patients about the availability of and/or need for pregnancy termination procedures if the fetus is not viable when the pregnancy itself places the pregnant woman at risk of harm.
The directives don’t permit them even to inform. And some hospitals, and some networks of hospitals, obey the directives. The directives are there, and it’s dangerous and reckless to assume that no hospitals obey them.
73-77 on page 11 spell out the unsettling organizational structure.
73 Defendant Stanley Urban is the current Chair and Defendants Robert Ladenburger and Mary Mollison are former Chairs of Catholic Health Ministries (“CHM”), an unincorporated foreign entity that required MHP to adhere to the Directives.
74. The decision that MHP would adhere to Defendant USCCB’s Directives was made by CHM in the Eastern District of Michigan.
75. CHM is not an incorporated entity under the laws of any state in the United States or any foreign country.
76. As Chairs of the unincorporated entity CHM, Defendants Urban, Ladenburger and Mollison are personally and/or vicariously liable for the acts and omissions of CHM.
77. In 2000, CHM was established as a public juridic person by an agency within the Vatican under “canon law,” a recognized foreign legal system.
A recognized foreign legal system is telling US hospitals what to do, including not treating or even informing women who need emergency abortions.
This has got to stop.