If something has happened that you don’t have words for »« Fundamental moral principles

News from Bartlesville

St. John Health System issued a statement this afternoon. The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reports:

Contrary to reports last week that contraceptives could only be prescribed for medical reasons, the statement released Monday appears to indicate that physicians employed by SJHS and practicing at Jane Phillips Medical Center can prescribe contraceptives to be used as birth control, leaving the decision to individual physicians.

“Appears to” is right – it’s very muddy. Very Cover Your Ass; very waffling; very You Can Have Both.

The unsigned document states in full:

“Consistent with Catholic health care organizations, St. John Health System operates in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, and therefore does not approve or support contraceptive practices. However, only physicians (not institutions) are licensed to practice medicine and make medical judgments. While our physicians agree to abide by the Directives, they also have the ability to prescribe medications, including hormonal medications, in accordance with their independent professional medical judgment. This includes informing patients when they are operating under their own professional medical judgment and not on behalf of St. John Health System.”

Wut?

Our physicians agree to abide by the Directives, and they also have the ability to prescribe medications, including hormonal medications, in accordance with their independent professional medical judgment. The ones that are contrary (in the official view) to the Directives. So what does that even mean? If the doctors agree to abide by the Directives and then don’t abide by them, what happens? Is that a firing offense?

Also – fuck the fucking Directives. Again: clerics should not be issuing religious “Directives” to health care institutions. Period. Health care should be secular. Period.

Comments

  1. Al Dente says

    Looks to me that the Catholic bishops are trying to cover their asses, “Physicians can prescribe contraception but we’re holding them to our ‘Directives’ which say they can’t.”

  2. Randomfactor says

    So we need one physician practicing there with guts and a vicious lawyer not unafraid of the Church.

  3. karmacat says

    I am guessing the subtext is that doctors can prescribe birth control but then can be fired for not following “the Directives.” It is like saying you have free speech until you “insult” my religion and then we will charge you for blasphemy

  4. John Horstman says

    Contrary to reports last week that contraceptives could only be prescribed for medical reasons, the statement released Monday appears to indicate that physicians employed by SJHS and practicing at Jane Phillips Medical Center can prescribe contraceptives to be used as birth control, leaving the decision to individual physicians.

    Grrrrrrr, birth control IS a “medical reason” to prescribe a contraceptive.

  5. Pteryxx says

    I am guessing the subtext is that doctors can prescribe birth control but then can be fired for not following “the Directives.” It is like saying you have free speech until you “insult” my religion and then we will charge you for blasphemy

    karmacat – exactly. This is from the Directives, in Stephanie Zvan’s post: (bolds mine)

    5. Catholic health care services must adopt these Directives as policy, require adherence to them within the institution as a condition for medical privileges and employment, and provide appropriate instruction regarding the Directives for administration, medical and nursing staff, and other personnel.

    Here’s a recent example of a doctor being officially reprimanded for mentioning abortion as a treatment option:

    http://www.propublica.org/article/at-a-catholic-hospital-a-dispute-over-what-a-doctor-can-do-and-say

    According to the complaint, Demos met with the patient, who was eight weeks pregnant and displayed signs of having the disorder, in early 2012. As he tells it, he recommended follow-up testing and discussed the treatment options — including abortion — should the results indicate that her life was in danger. Fortunately, an echocardiogram showed that the patient’s blood vessels were normal, Marfan syndrome was ruled out, and she went on to have a healthy baby. “I never saw her again,” Demos said.

    […]
    And he had more than the usual reason to be cautious about a patient who might have Marfan: Many years ago, he said, he treated another pregnant woman with the condition who died. Not to have discussed the option of abortion with someone who might suffer from the disorder “would have been malpractice,” he said.

    But hospital officials apparently saw it differently. Demos was reprimanded and told (in the words of the complaint) that he was “not permitted to recommend an abortion, nor is he permitted to even discuss the possibility of terminating a pregnancy with a Mercy Regional patient, regardless of the circumstances.”

  6. karmacat says

    I am wondering in cases like the one above with Dr. Demos if it would be helpful to call malpractice insurance companies. I know malpractice insurance companies hate there being any risk of a lawsuit. It is probably a good idea for any doctor in a Catholic hospital to call their malpractice insurance company. People tend to back down from their “principles” when money is involved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>