While the above video is a humorous review of the dangers Americans face when using Catholic hospitals, the main points it makes are dead true. Catholic hospitals can endanger patients’ lives because of the many restrictions placed on their medical care by Catholic dogma.
Treatment of patients at Catholic hospitals is guided by 72 strict ethical and religious directives written by the U.S. Conference of Bishops (pdf), who are all men. Doctors at Catholic hospitals must agree to abide by these directives as a condition for working at these hospitals. The directives, if obeyed, block Catholic hospitals from providing any form of contraceptives, performing sterilization procedures (like tubal ligation or vasectomy) and abortions, even under some extreme circumstances. The directives can even prevent hospital personnel from giving patients full, factually correct medical information regarding their conditions, or offering them referrals to places where they can obtain appropriate care, if the topic involves contraception, fertility, birth or abortion services. When asked about instances when medical care comes down to a dire choice between preserving the life of a mother or letting the mother and the fetus die, Father John Erich, the Medical Director of the Diocese of Phoenix, actually stated in an interview on National Public Radio in May, 2010 that “There are some situations where the mother may in fact die, along with her child.”
St. Mary’s Hospital and Medical Center, by far the largest and most dominant health care facility in our area, is a Catholic hospital run by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth (SCL) Health.
Dangers Posed to Women
Making this situation even more dangerous for Americans, and particularly for women, is that the Catholic church has been taking over U.S. hospitals at a rapid pace over the last 20 years. Between 2001 and 2016, the number of Catholic-owned or affiliated acute care hospitals in the U.S. grew by 22 percent, while at the same time the total number of hospitals in the U.S. decreased, effectively shrinking the number of secular medical options for millions of people. By 2011, ten of the 25 largest hospital systems in the U.S. were Catholic-sponsored.
In 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union tried to call attention to the growth of Catholic hospitals and the dangers it poses through its report titled, “Miscarriage of Medicine: The Growth of Catholic Hospitals and the Threat to Reproductive Health Care.” The report also describes how religious hospitals are taking federal money while at the same time putting life-threatening religious restrictions on their patient care.
In the above video, Samantha Bee discusses the problems people, and particularly women, face when being admitted to Catholic hospitals.
We should be very grateful we have a secular hospital option in Mesa County for medical care: Community Hospital, where the only tenets guiding care are what is factually and medically best for all of their patients.
If you are ever in need of emergency transport to an area hospital, you can ask the ambulance driver to take you to Community Hospital, and you should inform your family if these are your wishes in case you cannot speak for yourself.