Catholic Hospital Scolds Doctor for Talk of Abortion

ACLU says policy prevents doctors from giving patients needed information
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2013 4:10 PM CST

(Newser) ProPublica reports on a case out of Colorado that highlights the conflicts that result when Catholic-run hospitals put limits on what their doctors can tell patients. In this case, a cardiologist got reprimanded because he counseled a pregnant woman that she might have to consider an abortion to save her own life. Dr. Michael Demos discussed it as part of a range of treatment options because the woman showed signs of having a condition called Marfan syndrome, in which the stress of pregnancy causes the woman's aorta to rupture.

Subsequent tests showed the woman to be in the clear, so the issue was moot. But about a year after giving birth, the woman complained to officials at Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango about Demos' discussion with her. The hospital responded by reprimanding him and making clear that Mercy abides by guidelines issued by the US Conference of Bishops that forbid doctors from even discussing options such as abortion. The ACLU has filed a complaint with the state, arguing that the policy "prevents physicians from fulfilling their ethical obligations" and "interferes with patients' rights to make informed decisions regarding their medical care." The hospital says the complaint is based on "inaccurate information" and chose not to get into details. Click for the full story. (Read more Catholic Church stories.)

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