The information for this blog is in part from the article written by John Tomasic, the link to the article is at the bottom of the post.
Lori Stodghill 31-years old, seven-months pregnant with twin boys arrived at St. Thomas More hospital in Cañon City on New Year’s Day 2006. She was vomiting and short of breath and she passed out as she was being wheeled into an examination room. Medical staff tried to resuscitate her but, as became clear only later, a main artery feeding her lungs was clogged and the clog led to a massive heart attack. Stodghill’s obstetrician, Dr. Pelham Staples, who also happened to be the obstetrician on call for emergencies that night, never answered a page. His patient died at the hospital less than an hour after she arrived and her twins died in her womb.
Similar stories happen across the U.S. every day, The deaths by medical error far outweigh those caused by guns or other hot button topics. This story probably would have been buried deep within the paper if it was printed at all, but for the title of the article and argument made by the hospitals attorneys.
Unborn babies (fetuses) are not considered babies and are allowed to be aborted or die without repercussion. That is apparently the law in Colorado and as such the attorneys for the hospital stated that the Court “should not overturn the long-standing rule in Colorado that the term ‘person,’ as is used in the Wrongful Death Act, encompasses only individuals born alive. Colorado state courts define ‘person’ under the Act to include only those born alive. Therefore Plaintiffs cannot maintain wrongful death claims based on two unborn fetuses.”
I am both Catholic and an attorney and have strong feelings regarding this matter, but from a legal standpoint the defense appears correct, from a church standpoint – it is in violation of the fundamental beliefs as I understand them. So which is the correct path for the hospital to follow the legal argument which they will probably win under the current status of the law or the moral beliefs of the faith. The reports about the case in the media (social and otherwise) have implied the Church is hypocritical in stating an unborn baby is a baby until it could impact their bank account. I believe there is a different explanation.
The hospital is (I assume) insured and the insurance company would be the ones to provide not only the defense of the claim, but the attorneys to fight it and ultimately be responsible to pay any judgment. As such they are the ones who make the arguments including which defenses they are going to use. In some cases, the defendant may want to settle a case or not agree with the defense, but if it’s a viable defense then they may not have an option. I have been involved in cases where the Defense counsel and insurance carrier denied the claims and it was obvious the Defendant did not agree with those actions. In some cases the insurance carriers and their counsel seem just as willing to sacrifice their own insureds’ reputations and financial security as those against who they are defending the claim. I urge the representatives of the hospital to come forth and clear up the issue. It would be easy to say they believe the unborn baby is a person and they wish to change the laws so as to give those babies (through their parents) the right to bring actions for injury or death. If I am wrong and the hospital administrators truly believe that the unborn baby is not a person then they should resign immediately.
While the focus has become on what the hospital claims regarding the babies the true story is being lost. A mother, wife and children all died apparently due to the malpractice and uncaring actions of a hospital.