The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A conflict of rights


.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Telling you up front, as I write this piece I am the very definition of ambivalent.

Here's the issue. Here's my double-minded status:

• Does the hospital, being a Catholic operation, and its physicians have the right to conduct its (their) medical practice according to its (their) religious beliefs?

• Does a patient in an emergency situation like this, have the right to expect the best care and information from the medical providers?

Here's a monkey wrench: The Hippocratic Oath. Please click this link and read the traditional and modern versions of the oath. There's QUITE a difference. The statement "first, do no harm," is not found in either oath.

Arg. Arg. Arg. Arg. Arg.

How many doctors today actually take this oath? According to the PBS report (link above), the oath is not universal. It is nearly so and the number of docs in the US taking the oath has risen steadily over the years. Posit the doc takes the oath. We're now left with the question of "what does the oath really mean to the doctor?" That's something else I can't answer. F'dangit.

So on this specific case above I'm still fence straddling. I also have some questions which will never be answered in the media. Maybe not even in court. As this is a case of policy, it's going to court.

• Why did the woman miscarry? Was she using any substances which could cause miscarriage and harm the baby?

• Was she getting any prenatal care and from whom?

• Where's dad?

• What's the doc's opinion on abortion, et al?

• If the doc had been in a non-religious hospital, what would he have done?

• If the doc has issues with the religion-based restrictions, what's he doing working there in the first place?


I do have one thing to say about this matter. Lawyers are killing medicine. Brain surgeons in southern Nevada quit doing trauma brain surgery because they were constantly being sued. Get a bad head injury in Vegas and you're SOL unless you can be shipped over to California. I have known a number of docs who left medicine because they were sued.

It's one thing to sue someone for doing something wrong. It's entirely another case to sue because you don't like what happened. I suspect most malpractice cases are a matter of not liking what happened.

I wish there was a way to vet patients when they go into a hospital. If the patient is an attorney with a stack of malpractice suits, kick his posterior to the curb.

Here's a MAJOR issue: "Catholic hospitals account for about one in six of the country’s hospital beds and in many regions their influence is spreading as they forge alliances with non-Catholic medical groups."

And a quote from Wiki, which is footnoted: "In modern times, the Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of health care in the world. Catholic religious have been responsible for founding and running networks of hospitals across the world where medical research continues to be advanced."

Lemme pile this on: "In 2012, the church operated 12.6% of hospitals in the USA, accounting for 15.6% of all admissions, and around 14.5% of hospital expenses (c. 98.6 billion dollars). Compared to the public system, the church provided greater financial assistance or free care to poor patients, and was a leading provider of various low-profit health services such as breast cancer screenings, nutrition programs, trauma, and care of the elderly."

Aside - if you have a problem with the Catholic church running hospitals, do not go to those hospitals.

That's a LOT of hospital beds and a LOT of free care. I'm willing to bet the lady in question was getting free care. If it's free, what right do you have to complain about it?

Which brings me to another question: What happens if the lady's lawyers win and the hospitals are forced to go against their religious precepts? More chilling, what if the Catholic church decides to shut down its hospitals if this happens?

You cannot justifiably say some other group will step in to run the hospital. Fact is hospitals are shutting down all over the place and nothing is taking their place: "It was a tragedy that stunned a small Texas town: 18-month-old Edith Gonzales, a grape lodged in her tiny throat, died in her desperate parents’ arms because the county’s only hospital and emergency room had closed for good a few months earlier."

It's quite likely lawyers were not the direct cause of the Texas hospital shutting down. May be lawyers they had nothing to do with it. The fact remains malpractice suits are on the rise and have been rising for years.

The Texas hospital closed, probably, for the same reason so many others close. Not enough money coming into keep the doors open.

My county has been without a hospital for nearly 23 years. Lack of money is why it closed. We have one doctor's clinic. Used to have two. One closed a few months ago, finances again, which I attribute to mismanagement on the part of the owning hospital's administration and not actual health care issues.

Back to the OP. The real question here is whose rights and which rights are more important. The libertarian streak in me says doctors and hospitals have a right to to have policies like those created by the Catholic church, especially if it's free. Ya don't like it, don't go there.

The practical part of me that says in emergencies you take what you get. Doctors should do their best, even if it's free.

Both sides of me say the medical malpractice lawsuit system needs serious reform. Both sides of me also say people need to take personal responsibility for their actions.
 
Beyond that, I just ain't got an answer for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment