When incidents like this happen a chill runs up my spine.
A Michigan woman who suffered a dangerous, painful and prolonged miscarriage when she was 18 weeks pregnant is at the center of a lawsuit that claims she was denied appropriate treatment by a Catholic hospital guided by religious, not medical, concerns.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan are suing the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on behalf of Tamesha Means, 30, of Muskegon, Mich., according to a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. district court in eastern Michigan.
The lawsuit claims that Means, then the 27-year-old mother of two children, received negligent care at Mercy Health Partners hospital in Muskegon after her water broke in December 2010. She visited Mercy Health Partners, the only hospital in her county, three times.
Means says she was given medication and told to go home and wait for the pain to get better. On a third trip, as the hospital again prepared to send her home, she miscarried and the fetus was delivered feet-first in a painful and prolonged breech delivery, the lawsuit says.
Because of the Catholic-run hospital’s medical directives, which prohibit abortion, Means was not told that the child had “virtually no chance of surviving” and that continuing the pregnancy would endanger her health.
“Nor did MHP tell Ms. Means that the safest treatment option was to induce labor and terminate the pregnancy,” the complaint says. “MHP also did not tell Ms. Means that it would not terminate her pregnancy, even if necessary for her health, because it was prohibited from doing so by the Directives.”
Yeah, I know. The new Pope is saying awesome stuff… perhaps he can back those words up with deeds?
What happened to this woman is 100% unacceptable. They knew the pregnancy wasn’t viable. They knew the safest treatment option. They knew they were endangering her health. And I’m sure they knew she had two children at home, because, as a mother, I can’t imagine not worrying (aloud) about my children when I’m in the emergency room. But, I’m beginning to think that these Catholic bishops, and other “pro-lifers”, only consider pregnant women mothers because they seem a-okay with creating motherless children.
It’s as if losing a child is only okay if a woman suffers maximum pain and risks her health and life. I can’t wrap my head around that, but these incidents keep happening so that’s the drill. Luckily, Ms. Means lived – no thanks to the hospital since they rolled the dice and merely lucked out. Others have not been so fortunate. The motto seems to be… if you’re baby is going to die then you’ll die with it.
I can’t imagine another situation like this. It would be like a doctor diagnosing appendicitis, but refusing to operate until the appendix burst… because, hey! Your appendix is part of you! Or a doctor refusing to do bypass surgery until you have a heart attack… because, hey! You should experience the pain of all those bacon burgers you ate. The roar of outrage would be deafening. But when it comes to pregnant women these things keep happening. And, no. There is no gray area here. Not even a hint of gray.
As the mother of a 16 year old daughter these incidents alarm me. The list of advice I mete out to her keeps growing. Now I’ll have to tell her to avoid Catholic run hospitals; that they won’t place her health needs first – that her health and her life won’t matter if she’s pregnant.
I’m rooting for the ACLU in this lawsuit. Religious based medical treatment for pregnant women is as effective as leeches.