Sunday, January 27, 2013

What is the rest of the story? Have the lawyers run amok?

I found this story on the CNN website. There was a video too, but I didn't include it. I know that lawyers are just doing their job, but . . .


I wonder if there's more to this story, or a different side to it. Did the hospital refuse to treat her or what? Or did she walk into the hospital and instantly keel over and died on the spot?  How could a Catholic hospital allow its lawyers to use such a defense? Is this another case of a Catholic hospital being Catholic in name only and not in practice?

Lawyers for Catholic hospital argue that a fetus is not a person

By Ben Brumfield and Kyung Lah, CNN
Catholic hospital: Fetuses aren't people
updated 4:18 PM EST, Sat January 26, 2013
  • Lori Stodghill and her unborn twins died in the emergency room
  • Colorado courts agreed with the Catholic organization's defense that the embryos weren't people
  • Husband Jeremy Stodghill lost the suit but is appealing to Colorado's Supreme Court
  • The hospital sued him for $118,000 in legal fees
Canon City, Colorado (CNN) -- Life begins at conception, according to the Catholic Church, but in a wrongful death suit in Colorado, a Catholic health care company has argued just the opposite.
A fetus is not legally a person until it is born, the hospital's lawyers have claimed in its defense. And now it may be up to the state's Supreme Court to decide.
Lori Stodghill was 28 weeks pregnant when she went to the emergency room of St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City vomiting and short of breath, according to a court document.
She went into cardiac arrest in the lobby.
"Lori looked up at me, and then her head went down on her chest," said her husband, Jeremy Stodghill.
She died at age 31. Her unborn twin boys perished with her. That was New Year's Day 2006.
Stodghill, left behind to raise their then-2-year-old daughter alone, sued the hospital and its owner, Catholic Health Initiatives, for the wrongful deaths of all three.
After about two years of litigation, defense attorneys for the hospital and doctors entered an argument that shocked the widower.
They said that under state law, an embryo is not person until it is born alive, according to court documents. The Stodghills' twins were deceased when they were removed from their mother's lifeless body.
"I didn't even get to hold them," Jeremy Stodghill said. "I have an autopsy picture. That's all I've got."
The court agreed with the argument, and Stodghill lost the suit. The court also ruled against Stodghill in the case of his wife for other legal reasons.
The hospital and doctors then sued him for over $118,000 legal fees and attempted to garnish his wages, according to a legal document filed on his behalf.
The defendants offered to forget the fees if Stodghill dropped his appeal. He refused and filed for bankruptcy to avoid having to pay the claim, which he says he can't afford as he struggles to raise his now-9-year-old daughter, Libby.
Stodghill has petitioned the Colorado Supreme Court to hear his case, and he'd like to hear from the Catholic Church.
Representatives of the Catholic bishops of Colorado declined to comment on the legal proceedings, but said they will review the litigation and Catholic Health Initiatives' practices "to ensure fidelity and faithful witness to the teachings of the Catholic Church."
Catholic Health Initiatives would not speak to CNN on camera, but said in a statement, "In this case... as Catholic organizations, (we) are in union with the moral teachings of the Church."
Stodghill wears a tattoo on his chest with his unborn sons' footprints, their names and the words "our sons."
He wants the church and his state to see them the same way.


Becky said...

Yikes, what a tragedy68. I feel for that poor man. Can't believe the hospital wanted to sue him. As if losing his wife and sons were not enough.

All in His Perfect Timing said...

That is terrible! He poor man has lost his wife & babies and people are flip flopping on who does & doesn't count as a person. I am sure the hospital just wants to cover its butt ... Or their lawyers do ... So they don't have to pay / acknowledge guilt or wrong doing (if there's any) in the man's wife dying. It really doesn't talk much about her history, and it is CNN, so who knows the whole story ... But I do hope the Church stands up for the defense of all three lives lost.