Doctors Beware Following Catholic Miscarriage Religious Precepts

Miscarriage is an emergency situation. Women suffering miscarriage go to the nearest emergency room where they rightfully expect proper often life-saving medical care. This is pure fantasy when it comes to Catholic hospital emergency rooms where these women are refused medical care for miscarriages. This puts women’s lives at risks in the most degrading and cruel manner imaginable, in their moment of greatest need and vulnerability.  Beyond the utter lack of morality in the denial of life saving healthcare to women, this is medical malpractice.

Miscarriage: #1 Pregnancy Complication

The Mayo clinic estimates that 10-20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage.  In fact, miscarriage is the #1 pregnancy complication.

1 in 6 U.S. hospitals will not properly treat a woman suffering a miscarriage. Yes, 1 in 6 hospitals are Catholic who refuse on religious grounds to properly treat these emergency situations. Moreover, they prevent private doctors with privileges at those hospitals from properly treating miscarriages.

The hospitals have thus far have gotten away from responsibility even in the case of death to the mother. The private doctors and medical providers will not be so lucky under New Mexico medical negligence laws.

Duties of New Mexico Medical Providers Include Treatment of Miscarriage

One question that arises immediately for us at Collins & Collins, P.C. is “what caring and competent doctor would direct a pregnant patient toward a Catholic hospital that will not treat the most common complication of pregnancy”? The answer unfortunately is far too many. In New Mexico, they will have to answer for that gross violation of medical duty.

The New Mexico Uniform Jury Instructions (UJI) speak directly to that breach of duty and consequent findings of medical malpractice.

UJI 13-1103 Duty to inform patient of need for another doctor.

“If a treating doctor knows, or should know, that a doctor with other qualifications is needed for the patient to receive proper treatment, it is the duty of the treating doctor to tell the patient.”

UJI 13-1104A Informed consent.

“A doctor has a duty to obtain the patient’s informed consent [, or the patient’s representative’s informed consent,] to [treatment] [an operation]. For consent to be valid, it must be based upon information which a reasonably prudent patient would need to know in deciding whether to undergo the [treatment] [operation].”

UJI 13-1104B Duty to inform.

“In treating [his] [her] patient, a doctor is under the duty to communicate to the patient [, or to the patient’s representative when the patient is a minor or is incapacitated,] that information which a reasonably prudent patient under similar circumstances would need to know about:

  1. the patient’s condition; [and]
  2. the alternatives for treatment; [and]
  3. the inherent and potential hazards of the proposed treatment; [and]
  4. the likely result if the condition remains untreated.”

13-1116B Causation; failure to inform; condition not treated.

“A doctor who fails in [his] [her] duty to communicate the [condition] [likely result if the condition remains untreated] is liable for harm which results to the patient from the untreated condition if a reasonably prudent patient [or patient’s representative] under similar circumstances would have acted upon the information to avoid the harm.”

Doctors Must Inform Patients of Risks, Including Risks Inherent to Catholic Hospitals

A doctor is required to properly treat a patient. Likewise, a doctor is required to inform patients of risks associated with treatment. Given the fact that miscarriage is the most common pregnancy complication and Catholic hospitals will not treat the most common pregnancy complication, it seems self-evident that the doctor must inform the patient of the risks associated with maternal care at a Catholic hospital. Given the fact that 1 in 6 hospitals are Catholic and some communities have that as their only option, doctors should have contingency plans to address the 20% chance of miscarriage and the inability to get treatment at the woman’s chosen or only hospital.

Uphill Battle: Seek Legal Counsel

If you or a loved one has been seriously harmed by the systemic negligence of Catholic healthcare during miscarriage, get an attorney right away. As mentioned, Catholic hospitals have to date escaped liability even in cases of death.  Collins & Collins, P.C. is outraged to use the polite verbiage and we welcome the challenge to go after both the hospitals and the doctors (and/or other medical providers) perpetuating this grotesque assault on women’s health.

Collins & Collins, P.C. can be reached at (505) 242-5958.

What Can You Do Now to Stop this Outrage?

  1. Contact your New Mexico legislators and demand that they support SB 282 which would prevent Catholic Hospitals from denying treatment for miscarriage.
  2. Support the ACLU who is always on the frontline of women’s rights and women’s health which includes this important issue.
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