Biblical medicine?

marshallz10(z9-10 CA)May 26, 2013

I am somewhat perplexed by the news that the Catholic Church is buying up hospitals, medical practices, labs and other medical facilities with the expressed intention of expanding its "healthcare ministries."

"Of the largest healthcare corporations in the country, five of six are administered by the Catholic Church including the famously conservative Catholic Health Initiatives which operates the Franciscan brand and has $15 billion in assets. By the end of 2013, if all proposed mergers go through, 45 percent of Washington hospital beds will be religiously affiliated. In 10 counties, 100 percent of hospital facilities will be accountable to religious corporations, which are rapidly buying up outpatient clinics, laboratories and physician practices as well.

In the words of the U.S. Conference of Bishops, Catholic hospitals and healthcare corporations are “ healthcare ministries” and “opportunities:”

New partnerships can be viewed as opportunities for Catholic healthcare institutions and services to witness to their religious and ethical commitments and so influence the healing profession. . . . For example, new partnerships can help to implement the Church’s social teaching.

Here is the diabolical stroke of genius. In any merger between a secular and Catholic care system, fiscal health comes with a poison pill. One condition of the merger is that the whole system becomes subject to a set of theological agreements call the “ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” or ERDs. Rather than care being dictated by medical science and patient preference, a set of religious doctrines place restrictions on what treatment options can be offered to (or even discussed with) patients.

Under these agreements, the patient-doctor relationship becomes a patient-doctor-church relationship: “The Church’s moral teaching on healthcare nurtures a truly interpersonal professional-patient relationship. This professional-patient relationship is never separated, then, from the Catholic identity of the healthcare institution.” Furthermore providers who work in these systems are required to sign binding contractual agreements to adhere to the religious directives, whether or not they are Catholic: “Catholic healthcare 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 . . . .” "

Here is a link that might be useful: Biblical medicine?

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Of the three hospitals within relatively easy driving distance of me in the valley, all are named St. Alphonsus or St. Luke in this state heavy with Mormon practicing people. I would be surprised if, in the Valley, one can drive further than five miles without passing a well built Mormon church with it's pretty steeple, (steeples which are found on all Mormon churches)

There is a Catholic base here, but between the Mormon religion and MANY various Christian religions which are tiny, new and break offs of the more common protestant religions, Im not sure how the RC church has the managed the main ownership of the hospitals in the valley.

If I attended one of the major name churches I would probably have a much better understanding of why things are the way they are, religion wise and hospital wise.
Saltzer runs many of the clinics associated with these hospitals.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 1:23PM
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Our hospital, the only one in the county in which we live, is in talks with the Franciscan system to be bought out by it. Evidently, it is because the hospital would have a lot more money to spend on its expansions and lots of non-medical image-enhancing "improvements". We had a friend who had surgery in a huge hospital run by the Franciscans. Valet parking was a feature. That's where some of his medical costs are going.

Then, to top things off, we get a letter from DH's cardiology group that the group of about ten docs will be part of the hospital's "health partners". DH is changing docs.

Washington State's voters passed, by initiative, the Death With Dignity Act a couple of years ago. Of course, it was opposed by the RC Church, all to no avail. It looks like the Church is going to still be able to dictate, through its "health partners" how people will determine whether they can make those choices at the end of life.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 2:01PM
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Hmmm... I wonder how many patients they'll lose as a result of such archaic thinking? Religion is not medicine and does not belong intertwined therein.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 4:29PM
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Washington is my state and this very thing is about to affect our local hospitals-about to be swept into the Catholic maw if local voters arent alert to the issues and problems. The mother hospital up in Bellingham is a really good hospital but it is Catholic and that comes with issues-beware if you have a problem pregnancy. It remains to be seen if enough people locally care about what it could mean to them.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 7:23PM
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Ministry Health Care is huge around here. No talk about religion. Absolutely normal health care facilities. You've got much ado about nothing here. Must have been a slow news day for the reporter.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 7:30PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Beware if you have any needs in connection with reproduction. The Catholic Church opposes most of them, so I assume the Catholic hospitals will follow Church teachings on those matters.

I live in a smaller Midwestern town. One hospital only--and guess what it is. Catholic hospital. If I want a choice, I must go to a town across the border in Missouri or drive several hours to get to either a Kansas City hospital or a Tulsa, Oklahoma hospital. Everything else would be at least a 3.5-4 hr drive if I wanted to exercise an option.

Let's see--Catholic church is buying up all the medical facilities and the Conservatives/right-wingers are buying up all the media. Gee, what's going to be left for the rest of us to own?


    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 7:36PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

National debt and guilt uncompensate

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 7:48PM
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"Ministry Health Care is huge around here. No talk about religion. Absolutely normal health care facilities. You've got much ado about nothing here. Must have been a slow news day for the reporter.'

Better not be having miscarriage then Elvis one of my co workers was miscarrying and endured incredible difficulties in a Catholic Hospital.
It was decided that there was no signs of life in the 12 week fetus but they still would not remove it because that could be considered an abortion.
She had confirmation from the doctor that the fetus was indeed dead but still had to deliver it.

On the flip side however

You'll just love this one so I'll cut & paste in total!

Life begins at conception, according to the Catholic Church, but in a wrongful death suit in Colorado, a Catholic health care company has argued just the opposite.
A fetus is not legally a person until it is born, the hospital's lawyers have claimed in its defense. And now it may be up to the state's Supreme Court to decide.
Lori Stodghill was 28 weeks pregnant when she went to the emergency room of St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City vomiting and short of breath, according to a court document.
She went into cardiac arrest in the lobby.
"Lori looked up at me, and then her head went down on her chest," said her husband, Jeremy Stodghill.
Before and after Roe v. Wade
She died at age 31. Her unborn twin boys perished with her. That was New Year's Day 2006.
Stodghill, left behind to raise their then-2-year-old daughter alone, sued the hospital and its owner, Catholic Health Initiatives, for the wrongful deaths of all three.
After about two years of litigation, defense attorneys for the hospital and doctors entered an argument that shocked the widower.
They said that under state law, an embryo is not person until it is born alive, according to court documents. The Stodghills' twins were deceased when they were removed from their mother's lifeless body.
"I didn't even get to hold them," Jeremy Stodghill said. "I have an autopsy picture. That's all I've got."
The court agreed with the argument, and Stodghill lost the suit. The court also ruled against Stodghill in the case of his wife for other legal reasons.
The hospital and doctors then sued him for over $118,000 legal fees and attempted to garnish his wages, according to a legal document filed on his behalf.
The defendants offered to forget the fees if Stodghill dropped his appeal. He refused and filed for bankruptcy to avoid having to pay the claim, which he says he can't afford as he struggles to raise his now-9-year-old daughter, Libby.
Stodghill has petitioned the Colorado Supreme Court to hear his case, and he'd like to hear from the Catholic Church.
Representatives of the Catholic bishops of Colorado declined to comment on the legal proceedings, but said they will review the litigation and Catholic Health Initiatives' practices "to ensure fidelity and faithful witness to the teachings of the Catholic Church."
Catholic Health Initiatives would not speak to CNN on camera, but said in a statement, "In this case... as Catholic organizations, (we) are in union with the moral teachings of the Church."
Stodghill wears a tattoo on his chest with his unborn sons' footprints, their names and the words "our sons."
He wants the church and his state to see them the same way.
Survey: Few religious groups want Roe v. Wade overturned despite belief abortion morally wrong

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 11:39PM
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That's interesting because I had 2 miscarriages, went to the same Catholic-affiliated hospital both times while in very premature labor (about 12 weeks and16 weeks, respectively), and never had a problem. Received excellent and compassionate care.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 11:56PM
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No Germany has been having this kind of problem also as most of the Hospitals in the country are Church owned & run. Doctors afraid of losing their jobs turned away a woman who had just presented herself for gynecological examination after reporting she had been raped.

Flip flop

This time, it didn't take the Catholic Church long to react. In mid-January, the church in Germany was blasted after two Catholic hospitals in Cologne refused treatment to a rape victim due to concerns about the provision of emergency contraception in the form of the "morning-after" pill.

On Thursday, the German Bishops' Conference completed an about-face on its approach to the treatment, saying that Catholic facilities in Germany were now free to prescribe such pills in rape cases, provided that the medication was used to prevent a pregnancy and not to abort an already fertilized egg.
Robert Zollitsch, head of the Bishops' Conference, announced the decision in Trier, saying that rape victims would "of course receive humane, medical, psychological and spiritual care" at Catholic hospitals. It applies to all Catholic facilities in Germany and follows a similar change made unilaterally by Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne in the immediate wake of the scandal.

The decision marks a carefully calibrated turnaround. Immediately after the rape victim -- who ultimately received treatment at a Protestant facility -- was refused attention, an emergency center doctor said that the hospital ethics commission had consulted with Cardinal Meisner and elected to forego treatment of rape victims because it could force doctors to provide consultation on unwanted pregnancies and ultimately medication to obviate such pregnancies.

Soon thereafter, however, the Catholic foundation that runs the two hospitals said it was the result of a misunderstanding. Meisner then announced that the morning-after pill was okay because medical research shows that the drug discourages fertilization rather than preventing the implantation of the embryo in the uterus. Studies appear to back up that interpretation, though research is not yet conclusive.
(I can believe it's not butter or birth control)

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 12:05AM
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It's an end run around reproductive laws and abortion. Catholic hospitals do not provide those services.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 8:26AM
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Precisely, Nina... determination to control the heathens, and keep them morally in line...

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 8:38AM
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Lionheart you were lucky! Were they willing to evacuate the fetus or were you required to deliver. One good thing she did learn was that she needed an operation to help keep any future pregnancies.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 9:50AM
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Considering my hospital options, thank goodness my reproduction days are over.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 10:51AM
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In some strange way, I'm almost glad mine never began... though there was a time I desperately wanted to have children. I would hate to be forced to deal with many of the situations that have been described within this forum.

I couldn't be happier that my family came to me, already made and ready to love.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 11:46AM
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Although reproduction rights are at the forefront, In states like Washington and Oregon, if doctors' practices are made part of the hospital, they will be prohibited from providing the information and prescription needed for dying with dignity according to the law. This would affect anyone over the age of 18 who has a terminal condition where they are not expected to live more than 6 months and wish to have the option of ending their lives before then if it gets to be too painful to continue. I'm thinking of a friend who died of ALS. That, to me is the worst possible death imaginable. DH had a friend who died of cancer It had infected his brain and just touching him caused him to scream. No way would I want to "live" that way to the bitter end. That's my choice. I believe everyone should be able to make their own decisions and not have their care decided by a religious institution, especially one that they have no part of

DH worked for a Catholic hospital before retiring. He has nothing but good things to say about how it was run. Very compassionate, good care. So, aside from reproductive issues, Catholic hospitals provide top-quality care. But, I don't want someone other than me and my doctor to intrude with doctrine that I don't believe in to determine what care I should receive.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 11:54AM
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"•Posted by lionheart z5 NY (My Page) on Sun, May 26, 13 at 23:56

"That's interesting because I had 2 miscarriages, went to the same Catholic-affiliated hospital both times while in very premature labor (about 12 weeks and16 weeks, respectively), and never had a problem. Received excellent and compassionate care."

Right? I got my birth control when I needed it from Sacred Heart-St. Mary's, as well as cervical cancer treatment. All strictly female services. I didn't ask them for and wouldn't have expected an abortion at their hands.

There are plenty of medical facilities that aren't all things to all people. One wouldn't go to Planned Parenthood for ingrown toenails, for instance.

What, is the concern here that the Catholic Church is going ot take over all health care? Ain't gonna happen; chill.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 11:59AM
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All health care was once the mandate of the Catholic church. As were politics, astronomy, theology, mathematics, science, etc. It's one of the reasons humans fared so badly during the plague years. Science, including medicine, were constrained in Europe by the Catholic religion.
Why would anyone advocating taking a giant step backwards into the middle ages?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 1:29PM
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Elvis-if St Josephs takes over both local hospitals then the only non Catholic option would be in Seattle. While my reproductive days are long gone I still firmly believe I have the right to die. With my history a protracted and nasty death could easily be in my future-that is something to consider-that is only my own case. I would not want to be a young woman with no options.

Lets not forget that the Catholic Church in America has recently been changing and refining its position on things like birth control-something that women were able to get through their insurance in the past and now the Catholic hospitals no longer want to be included in insurance policies.....what happend to you in the past is not necessarily what would happen today.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 2:37PM
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"Lionheart you were lucky! Were they willing to evacuate the fetus or were you required to deliver. One good thing she did learn was that she needed an operation to help keep any future pregnancies."

Well, I was already in labor. It all happened pretty quickly, unlike "real" labor. :-)

They gave me some mild pain meds and said that if labor stopped they would start it again because the fetus wasn't viable (both times). Actually, although I was about 12 or more weeks pregnant, they said the growth of the fetus and the uterus indicated development, at most, was 4-6 weeks, so everything was way underdeveloped.

After about an hour or two of cramps (again, nothing like real labor), I felt something "pop". Then the doctor pressed on my stomach to expel as much tissue as possible. That wasn't a lot of fun. Then they gave me a D&C to make sure there were no remnants that could cause infection.

Standard treatment, even now, is to wait for the miscarriage to happen, then do the D&C or D&A, if needed. There is rarely an on demand "taking the baby". It is almost never recommended unless the mother's health is at immediate risk, like with an infection. There are far fewer complications when you allow the "normal" process to work its way through.

Also, depending on how far along your friend was in her pregnancy, there may be laws that apply.

For example, I don't know if the law has changed but back in the mid to late 1990s, for a doctor to perform a D&E after 16 weeks, NYS law said the obgyn had to get a sign-off from a hospital review board, complete with supporting documentation and a 2nd or 3rd opinion. If/when permission was given, a D&E procedure had to be done in at least a tertiary hospital, never in a doctor's office or clinic. Any doctor circumventing the process could be charged with a crime and lose their medical license.

The further along the pregnancy is, the fewer options there are available. Not just legally, but medically. For late term stillbirths, you no longer have the options that are available to earlier term miscarriages.

It is standard practice to wait for labor and a vaginal delivery, or induce labor if it stops or if there are signs of infection.

Most of these things have nothing to do with religious affiliation. They are a combination of best practices put foward by professional standards groups like ACOG and, in some cases, compliance with state law.

I would expect most, if not all, religiously-affiliated hospitals to not perform or support abortions. Personally, I wouldn't ask them to do so, but nothing else was off limits. We talked about birth control options, such as tubal ligation, with hospital doctors and staff after my last child was born. Yes, that was in a Catholic-affiliated hospital.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 7:19PM
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