Catholic Hospital Claims Fetus Not Person in Colorado Malpractice Defense

By Keith Coffman | January 25, 2013

  • January 25, 2013 at 9:35 am
    ComradeAnon says:
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    Just a wee bit hypocritical coming from the biggest “Life begins at inception” pusher of them all.

    • January 28, 2013 at 11:05 am
      The Bigger Lebowski says:
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      The attorneys raised the issues, not the Catholic bishops. Stop attributing actions to the wrong parties. Your bias is showing.

  • January 25, 2013 at 9:50 am
    Daniel says:
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    That headline’s rather misleading, given that the bishops are up in arms over the hospital and its attorneys using that defense.

    • January 25, 2013 at 1:28 pm
      jw says:
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      The headline is actually accurate. The hospital’s lawyer used the Colorado law to the hospital’s advantage. That’s his job. Now, the rest of the Catholic powers that be are ready to crucify the hospital and lawyer.

      • January 25, 2013 at 9:05 pm
        David says:
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        The original headline said “church” not “hospital”

        • January 28, 2013 at 8:42 am
          jw says:
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          Yeah, sorry about that. I figured that out after I replied. I really should learn to read all comments before I reply.

  • January 25, 2013 at 10:20 am
    InsGuy says:
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    Fine, then stand up and tell your lawyer that he must not use that defense. Simple, it’s called conviction in your beliefs.

    • January 25, 2013 at 9:07 pm
      David says:
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      You seem to be under a misconception as to how much control the bishop has over a hospital in his diocese. If the hospital refuses to comply with what he decrees, all the bishop can really do is declare the hospital cannot call itself Catholic.

      • January 28, 2013 at 10:37 am
        InsGuy says:
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        Yes, but they lose their funding.

  • January 25, 2013 at 10:24 am
    David says:
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    Very misleading headline. “The Church” is not arguing that the fetus is not a person. This hospital group is making the argument. The bishops are clearly opposed to this stance.

    You need to distinguish between the Church and dissenters within the Church

    • January 25, 2013 at 1:30 pm
      jw says:
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      Was the headline changed? It reads “Catholic Hospital Claims…” now.

    • January 25, 2013 at 1:35 pm
      Captain Planet says:
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      What’s misleading? It says, “Catholic hospital claims…”, not “The Church claims…” Regardless, it’s a CATHOLIC hospital and they essentially just committed third trimester abortion. We won’t get into the mother dying, but we all know what the Catholic church has traditionally thought about women, right? They were just allowed worthiness to serve at the altar about 20 years ago. I was raised Catholic but thankfully, I understand The Church more now.

      • January 28, 2013 at 1:20 pm
        Bob says:
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        The Catholic church is clear about what they think about women, and no, you do not understand the Catholic church. I went there for over 20 years. I should emphasize that I too am no longer Catholic. But I hold nothing against Catholicism, and I like what it stands for. I just find myself much more of an agnostic. I left and rebelled like many do, and I imagined you did as well, without ever figuring out squat about Catholic ideals, or ever reading a book on St Augustine. It would do you some good to do some Catholic Philosophy research, the real effective of Catholicism, and also research into catechisms, as well as what the Pope actually says about people who are gay. It might surprise you to know that the Pope is lax, other than he wont’ marry gays. He’s one of the only church authorities out there who specifically says gays are to be loved in nearly every speach. The fact that you call the Catholic church more extreme than most other churches is ignorant. The bulk of Catholics have leaned democrat. You also tried to link extreme religious zealotry to the right. Well then, why are the “extreme” catholics democrat? Again with the hypocricy. Choose your paths better Planet, and do your research better. In order to understand the Catholic church, you have to, and let me repeat this for you Captain as I know you did/have not, pursue the Catholic church on YOUR OWN TIME outside of sunday school, CCD, and mass. You have to have participated in the equivalent of a Newman’s Center in Washington. They teach you how to pursue real world appilcation of Catholic values. At church they read scripture, and ONLY scripture. At sunday school they read bible quotes, and ONLY bible quotes. None of those quotes are demeaning toward women. If you got something demeaning toward women, you added that yourself.

        Just because women aren’t allowed to be pope or bishop doesn’t mean anything. If anything, you should be happy of that fact. It keeps more women away from that God awful church. Pun intended.

    • January 25, 2013 at 2:32 pm
      BS says:
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      The legal team would not be able to present that defense without express approval from the Church. The Church could very easily demand a different type of defense. They didn’t, and are only getting up in arms because their hypocricy is being called out.

    • January 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm
      David says:
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      @jw

      Yeah, it was changed. When I wrote my comment, it read “Catholic Church” not “Catholic Hospital”

      I am glad they made that change.

      • January 28, 2013 at 8:44 am
        jw says:
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        While I will say I should do a little more reading before I get on my soapbox, I wouldn’t mind if the correction was noted in the article.

  • January 25, 2013 at 10:35 am
    Some Guy says:
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    @ComradAnon – it’s “Life begins at conception”, not inception.

    • January 25, 2013 at 1:37 pm
      Assunta says:
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      Thank you………….

    • January 25, 2013 at 1:38 pm
      Speedo says:
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      Unless the attorney resembles Leonardo DiCaprio.

    • January 26, 2013 at 8:43 am
      ComradeAnon says:
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      DOH!

  • January 25, 2013 at 2:37 pm
    BS says:
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    The hypocrisy of this just kills me. The Church claims to believe that every fetus is a life that should be born, naturally. Incest, rape, still-births, it doesn’t matter. No exceptions. But when it comes to protecting one of their doctors from a malpractice case, they turn around and claim that a 7 month fetus isn’t a life???

    Basically the Church just said that every fetus is a life, except when they might end up financially responsible for ending that life.

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. The Catholic Church only lives by its teachings when it’s convenient. :(

    • January 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm
      Don't Call Me Shirley says:
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      Just so long as the insurance doesn’t cover it, because THAT would be wrong!

      (chuckling)

    • January 25, 2013 at 5:50 pm
      Don't Call Me Shirley says:
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      Come to think of it, how much you wanna bet that, if they lose the case, they’ll turn to their malpractice insurance to pay for it! Be on the lookout for that one.

    • January 25, 2013 at 9:08 pm
      David says:
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      Are you aware that the Colorado bishops are investigating this?

      http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=6905

      • January 28, 2013 at 12:23 pm
        BS says:
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        I am aware, yes. And I stand by my comment that they are only getting involved because they are being called out on it.

        The legal team would not have presented that defense without express approval from their client. They are only backing away from it now because this has the potential to be a huge PR nightmare for the Church.

        • January 28, 2013 at 1:27 pm
          Bob says:
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          So your argument is darn those hypocrite catholics, somehow somewhere they wanted these abortions! But no wait erh…Somehow they didn’t!

          Hypocricy…is somewhere….have to…pull it out…of my ass?

          BS, you’re spilling out BS.

          No organization can have all it’s units follow the code. It’s clear here that a doctor didn’t want to save the babies. The catholic church is not ok with it, and never would be. The doctor messed up. The church is running in not to avoid a PR issue. They are running in because they are against abortion.

          It’s that simple. Not this twisted tar you’re throwing out. Sort out your issues in your head against religion before you speak.

          • January 28, 2013 at 2:26 pm
            BS says:
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            No. That’s not my argument. There was no abortion. And I never said there was. Only a negligent physician who did not answer his emergency pages, resulting in the death of a woman and her two unborn children.

            My argument is that if an organization claims to believe that life begins at conception, no exceptions; then when one of that organization’s doctors screws up, resulting in the death of two 7-month fetuses, that organization should not turn around and claim that the fetuses were not ‘lives.’

            My issue is with them trying to have it both ways. To claim that abortion is wrong because it is ending a life, but saying that it was OK that a doctor screwed up so horribly because the two potentially viable fetuses were not actually ‘lives’ is the height of hypocrisy. If you are going to claim a life is a life is a life, then it needs to be a life even if the Church risks a large malpractice pay out.

            And the Church obviously did not have an issue with the defense until it started getting negative traction in the press. If they did, it never would have been used, and we would not be having this discussion.

          • January 28, 2013 at 3:20 pm
            Bob says:
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            BS:

            “they are only getting involved because they are being called out on it”

            You are implying that they are ok with the deaths of babies, the reason I mention “abortion” is because it’s the terminology that applies.

            There’s no “we must save the (potential baby) during child birth” nor should there be that type of complexity. It is actually liberal non religious beliefs which hold that complexity.

            My point in this is you’re dead wrong on the “they are only getting involved because they are being called out on it”

            You’re trying to find some sort of hypocricy which is not there.

            The doctor made a mistake, the church is coming after him with the code of the church. The church is not only intervening because of PR. That’s dumb as hell to try to make that twist.

            If it were the government coming in to get the doctor, and there were a law that he save the babies, you would not be calling it PR. You’d be calling it someone who broke the law.

            The church is coming in because some moron broke the law of the code. And you have no proof, no evidence, nor reason to believe they are simply now coming in because of PR, and loads of proof that they are absolutely not ok with the scenario. But you say, nah, they wouldn’t care ordinarily. Don’t say you aren’t. Your argument by default makes that assumption if you believe the church is only getting involved due to PR.

            Again: Stop twisting stuff in the name of hating religion. It’s idiotic. And as I said in another post here: I’m agnostic. So I don’t care on either side, except for when someone acts like an idiot on either side. You have bias. Fix it.

          • January 28, 2013 at 4:01 pm
            BS says:
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            @Bob

            No, I’m NOT implying that the Church is OK with the death of babies. What I am implying is that it doesn’t follow its own teachings when it’s not financially advantageous to do so. If they claim that life begins at conception, then turning around and arguing that ‘it wasn’t really a life’ when two 7-mo fetuses die is hypocrisy.

            The Church is not ‘going after the doctor.’ There is no ‘code of the Church’ that they are going after him with. The widower sued the doctors and the hospital. The Church got dragged into this because it’s a Catholic Hospital.

            The hospital was the first to use the ‘not really a life’ defense, then followed by the other named physicians. If the Church had had an issue with the defense, it never would have been used. They obviously didn’t care that it was being used until it went public, and they started getting backlash for it. That’s when the Bishops got involved.

            I’m not saying that the Church doesn’t believe that life begins at conception or that they don’t believe that the fetuses shouldn’t have been saved. I do, however, think that once it happened, they cared more about mitigating their financial obligations then standing on principal.

        • January 28, 2013 at 4:19 pm
          Bob says:
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          BS:

          The doctor will tender legal defense. You are making an assumption that cannot exist, that the Catholic who did the action does not defend themselves.

          When it comes to legal code in this circumstance, we aren’t going to tender defense according to religion. Are you a republican? Or a democrat?

          It seems like you want to mix religion and government friend. They can tender defense until the cows come home, that IF the government doesn’t consider the child to be a child, then THE GOVERNMENT cannot come after them in a special scenario due to their religion. This is not disgusting in the least.

          The doctor made a mistake, the church is looking at the case and is involved, not due to PR, and the doctor is going to get some good ol’ secular defense. Which apparently, you don’t like.

          • January 28, 2013 at 5:07 pm
            BS says:
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            @Bob:

            You’re missing my point, completely.

            I don’t have a problem with the defense, itself. It was legal. It worked. It was a smart move. Now they only have to worry about trying the death of the wife. If this just involved the physician or a community (non-religious) hospital, I wouldn’t have looked at this twice.

            My issue is with the Catholic Church’s involvement. If the Catholic Hospital was following the teachings they espouse, they should have rejected the defense and should have presented a different one. Instead, they were the FIRST ones to present this defense. The Catholic Church is one of the biggest proponents of the so-called Person-hood bills, arguing that life begins at conception and that any artificial ending of that life should be illegal. If they believe that life begins at conception, then saying that those fetuses were not actually lives should NEVER have been an option – even if legally it is.

            This was a chance for the Church to take a stand and show that they practice what they preach. Instead they chose to argue something that was fundamentally against their teachings, to avoid a malpractice payment.

            It’s hard for me to respect a religion’s stances if they don’t actually stand by them when it might cost them financially.

  • January 25, 2013 at 2:40 pm
    Huh! says:
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    Someone gave the attorney authority to use the defense that the twins were not live human beings. There is much that is wrong here.

  • January 25, 2013 at 2:43 pm
    E.J. Breider says:
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    Hmmmm … The Catholic Church in a titanic struggle between money and doctrine … I’m betting on money.

  • January 25, 2013 at 3:00 pm
    Perplexed says:
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    Catholic displayed how shallow their “convictions” are when they covered up and allowed the abuse of boys by their priests for so many years. No surprise here.

    • January 25, 2013 at 3:24 pm
      insurance is fun! says:
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      Hey, at least they’re consistent if nothing else.

  • January 25, 2013 at 3:59 pm
    reality says:
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    Boy, lots of people here criticizing the church, for using a law they disagree with to their advantage. They didn’t establish the laws in Colorado, but they do have to operate within them.

    I think it’s peculiar that only Catholics and Conservatives are ever called out by the public as hypocrits.Beliefs and teachings don’t hold the power of law.

    How many folks at the local Catholic church do you think are supporters of abortion? You can’t possibly believe that everyone that attends Catholic services or calls themself Catholic lives by the letter of their teachings?

    For just a moment try to imagine if the situation been that the Catholic hospital had refused an abortion to a woman that didn’t want to have twins and the Catholic hospital objected then what? It’s very likely the same crowd would likely be condeming them for not executing the woman’s request and terminating what Colorado State Law has determined not to be lives.

    We may not like some laws, but we still have to abide by them and if we’re serious make an effort to change or amend them.

    • January 28, 2013 at 8:49 am
      jw says:
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      “Beliefs and teachings don’t hold the power of law.”

      True, they don’t have the power of law; however, the hospital had the option to settle this claim out of court. Therfore, they would not need to use the controversial (for a Catholic hospital) law as a defense.

  • January 25, 2013 at 11:54 pm
    kathy says:
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    I did some research- this hospital is onwed by Catholc Health Initiatives which was fromed by 14 women religious orders originally. With that fact in mind- this hospital is noy owned by the Catholc Church however since they say they have a catholci identity they should be following teh smae. the Bishops have no control over this hospital as thy do not run it BUT they can advise the various Religious orders if they are not following catholic teaching,

    That said- the case itself has to be tried acoording to the laws of the state and IF the laws of the state say a fetus is not considered a human being THAT is the way the case must be tried. In no way does that mean that The Catholic Church does not believe this fetus to BE a human person. Unfortunately news reporters are just not knowlegeable about teh Catholic Church and what they think they know is what they report and many times it is with grave errors.

    The same goes for Catholic Universities- the Church does not own these- they may be founded by Catholic religious orders and even then some of them do not follow true Catholic teaching which causes great confusion. In fact the Chruch owns their individual Church buildings, rectories, offices etc…most times we do not own the hospitals.

    Hope that clears things up.

    • January 28, 2013 at 4:22 pm
      Bob says:
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      Thank you Kathy!

      Exactly what I said above in a similar way. The thing is IF the government is going to be involved in the suit, and IF the fetus is a fetus to the state (government) then it’s going to be a fetus in the case against the Catholic church.

      Perfectly fair.

  • January 26, 2013 at 12:19 pm
    MeIsEinstein says:
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    Hmmm, so a fetus is a not a person hein. I wonder if allowed to grow what it would become in 9 months, hmmm.

    • January 30, 2013 at 11:15 am
      Captain Planet says:
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      Something that better be able to pull itself up by its own bootie straps, right Conservatives?

  • January 27, 2013 at 8:30 pm
    Fookin Awesome says:
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    LAWYERS, yeah, baby !

  • January 28, 2013 at 10:47 am
    New Guy says:
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    For the purposes of the Court, they are determining the interpretation of the law. The Malpractice suit/payment will be covered under “INSURANCE” which is why we are all reading this… The Insurance contract for the hospital, is going to pay for defense of the hospital and either respond or not respond based on the contract. Not on the court ruling. The ruling will be the ruling, and then it will be determined who will pay. If the Insurance Contract does not pay, then you will see the conviction of the Catholic Church as to whether they will pony up. The Catholic Church may have a Insurance policy/contract that may respond to pay the plaintiff but again, it depends on how the contract reads. This isn’t an article stating that the Catholic Church is changing their theology so they don’t have to pay. The Catholic Church did not make the ruling. Im not defending the Catholic Church… just makinig a note to all of the emotional responses on here that have no Authority.

  • January 28, 2013 at 11:05 am
    San Antonio Rose says:
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    If life begins at conception, then when does it end? At the time the last cell replicates? Most agree that no brain activity means that a person is dead, even though they may be breathing with the aid of a respirator. So why not agree that life begins when there is a brain that is capable of thought. I know that this is an emotional issue, but law should be based on logic.

    • January 28, 2013 at 3:27 pm
      Bob says:
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      San Antonio:

      Bad argument. The brain dead patient has over a 90% chance that they will never be a human, and needs intervention to be alive.

      The baby has a 100% chance of life, and needs intervention to be killed.

      Now I know you think you were clever there, but you weren’t. Let’s try actually comparing things that make sense shall we?

      A life is a life whether or not one can think. Should we then take this to severe cases of mental retardation Antonio?

      It’s insulting how much people try to make an argument to call a life, not a life. As soon as that child starts to replicate, it is a life. Whether or not you accept that has nothing to do with religion. Now whether or not you personally are ok with getting rid of that life is a different story. Some people are ok with ending the life, some aren’t.

  • January 28, 2013 at 1:42 pm
    celtica says:
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    The Bishops are only upset that they get caught.
    Just like their sex scandals.

    Since I’m a catholic, I’m just calling it like it is.

    • January 28, 2013 at 3:23 pm
      Bob says:
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      What exatly did the church get caught doing? Conspiarcy theorist much?

      Someone in the hospital made a mistake. The church is going after the idiot. They aren’t going, my bad, we always kill babies. We just say not to kill them.

      I’ve really had enough of seeing people say this in this post.

      Take it for what it is, and quit the catholic criticism.

      Side comment: You are not Catholic, so don’t lie on that front. Do you go to church each Sunday? You can’t be half in on the Catholic front and say you don’t agree. A Catholic is not a Catholic if they do not accept the eucharist each and every Sunday. You are excommunicated by default until you go to the code.

      This again is like what I said above: People in the church don’t follow the code, the church then can choose to go after them. It’s that simple people.

  • January 29, 2013 at 9:55 am
    JimmyJohn says:
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    Here’s the issue. The catholic church, playing legal, makes them look cynical and calculating.

    Whether that is their intent or not, they look cynical and calculating.

    If the Catholic Church does not “own” the hospital and cannot control it, then they should defend their trademark and make the hospital remove Catholic from their naming.

    Otherwise as the Catholic Church they have to do the right thing. No matter what the law says, a lawyer defending a Catholic institution would best never say a fetus is not a life.

    No. Matter. What. The. Law. Says.

    See folks, that is a big issue with Catholics that are leaving the church. Priests lawyering up, churches lawyering up, lawyers finding the smallest reasonable doubt.

    Is the Catholic Church a leader or a follower?

  • January 29, 2013 at 4:49 pm
    Amanda says:
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    so sad, these babies could have been saved and instead slowly died in the womb.



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