Thursday, January 27, 2011

OSF May Close Pharmacy that Dispenses Contraceptives

See this article in today's Peoria Journal Star.

A quick historical look at OSF’s contraceptive policy:

In the mid 90’s OSF Corporate in Peoria hired Catholic bioethicist Joe Piccione.

Mr. Piccione was hired by OSF to create a contraceptive policy that would allow OSF physicians to write prescriptions for oral contraceptives for patients. OSF was very concerned about losing money if their own OSF physicians could not write prescriptions for oral contraceptives.

So Mr. Piccione along with other OSF leaders met with The Catholic Diocese of Peoria and Bishop John Myers and “created” a new policy.

This policy allows OSF physicians to write oral contraceptives from an OSF office. But during the few moments the OSF physician is writing the prescription, he is not considered an OSF employee. And the second after the prescription is written, the physician is immediately reinstated as an OSF employee.

This sounds laughable and would be if it were not true. This policy still exists today for OSF physicians throughout the entire OSF Health Care System.

Mr. Piccione was quoted in the Peoria Journal Star in the mid-90’s that this anti-Catholic policy would “get our hands dirty”.

Why OSF wants to follow “ethical and religious directives” now in Galesburg is anyone’s guess.

GateHouse News Service
Posted Jan 26, 2011 @ 08:48 AM
Last update Jan 26, 2011 @ 08:08 PM


The pharmacy operated by Hy-Vee at OSF Galesburg Clinic will almost certainly close in March because of an argument over the sale of contraceptives.

If the lease is terminated OSF would not be allowed to bring a new pharmacy into the clinic for the next two years because of an existing agreement. A notice of termination has been given to Hy-Vee.

OSF recently took control of the clinic, which includes a pharmacy run by Hy-Vee. Jon McKee, a spokesman for OSF, said Hy-Vee's corporate office had not responded to efforts to negotiate a new agreement. McKee said OSF would like to see the Hy-Vee pharmacy remain in its current location.

However, employees at the pharmacy have been told it will close March 4. Hy-Vee spokeswoman Ruth Comer said Hy-Vee had an "ethical obligation" to fill prescriptions for contraceptives.

OSF is operated under Catholic ethical directives, which would not permit the sale of the oral contraceptives available at the pharmacy.

The health care group, which is owned by the Peoria-based Sisters of The Third Order of St. Francis, took control of the Galesburg Clinic on Oct. 31, renaming the facility OSF Galesburg Clinic.

Customers of the Galesburg Clinic Pharmacy contacted GateHouse News Service to express their discontent about the likely closure of the business.

Comer said all of the staff working at the Hy-Vee pharmacy at the clinic would be offered new posts.

She said Hy-Vee had had discussions with OSF about the pharmacy and that Hy-Vee was not prepared to back down from its position that it should be allowed to supply contraceptives to its customers.

"That's not acceptable to us as a condition," she said.

Comer said the lease for the pharmacy likely will be terminated in March. She said there had been no attempt by OSF to renew the lease agreement.

Please see this article written by my brother Tom and me in 2008.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Speed Bumps

Photo by John Carroll

January 24, 2011

Sacramento seems like a really nice city.

The fog in the morning is serene and beautiful and the illuminated white state capitol building at night is stunning.

Many of Sacramento's streets are wide and have "undulations". In the Midwest we call them "speed bumps". In Haiti these bumps are called "police lying down".

When we have been driving here, my seven year old son Luke likes to warn me from the back seat that we are approaching a speed bump. When he spots one, he will holler out “speed bump”, and I will slow down.

I then over-politely say "thank you" and he says "you are welcome" and giggles. This ritual can occur many times over several blocks in Sacramento and Maria seems to handle this “guy humor” quite well.

Yesterday, seven year old Widnerlande who was seated next to Luke in the back seat, would join in on the “speed bump” warnings and gleefully chime "you are welcome" when I thanked them for their warning.

This morning we all got up at 5 AM because Widnerlande’s heart surgery is being performed today.

On the way to Sutter Children's Center Widnerlande happily shouted out "speed bump" as we approached another undulation in Sacramento's dark streets.

To hear her little happy voice from the back seat made me sad. I knew that in several hours Widnerlande would experience another huge bump in her short life. But we needed to force her over it, even against her strong seven year old will.

This little girl has survived intense tropical storms, hurricanes, kidnappings, political unrest, a diabolical earthquake, and the deadly cholera that was infecting 4,000 people each week in her Haitian valley. And she survived malnutrition and poverty that we can barely understand.

And she did all this with a hole in her heart that has kept her in a state of semi-compensated congestive heart failure.

I calmed myself by rationalizing that she will be able to live through our surgical assault.

Widnerlande has passed many speed bumps in her life. And as she is lifted off the operating table this morning by many gentle hands, she will have more hurdles to pass during the next few days.

But we all know this girl will get over them some how.

Thank you, Maria and Valerie, Gertrude and Rachel and Joanna, Frandy and Jim and Jane, Garren, Tiffany and Representative Aaron Schock, Sutter Children’s Center nursing staff and child life specialists, and Drs. Nasirov, Juris, and Crockett, and Crystal, and Helen and Steven and Rose. And a special thanks to Widnerlande's fearless mother Magalene for keeping her close and keeping her alive against almost impossible odds in Haiti.


See this article and this article describing Widnerlande's situation.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Should OSF-SFMC in Peoria Remain Catholic?

Photo by John Carroll
OSF-Saint Francis Medical Center Chapel, Peoria

OSF-Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria has not allowed their own Haitian Hearts patients from returning to Saint Francis Medical Center for heart surgery. Four have died.

This is not consistent with the social justice teachings of the Church. This is not consistent with the mission philosophy of OSF.

OSF has a contraceptive policy that is not consistent with the teachings of the Church. This policy was created by OSF's Catholic bioethicist and The Catholic Diocese of Peoria to allow OSF to remain competitive in the medical market place.

Should Bishop Jenky in Peoria allow OSF to remain a Catholic hospital? Should Bishop Jenky allow these scandals to continue in his Diocese? Catholic hierarchy does not like scandal.

Bishop Olmsted in Phoenix doesn't like scandal either.

See Bishop Olmsted's ruling on Saint Joseph's Medical Center in Phoenix.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Widnerlande to Sacramento

Read Pam Adams summary of the six year Widnerlande saga.

Widnerlande will have her appointment tomorrow in Sacramento and receive a pediatric echocardiogram to see if her ventricular septal defect warrants surgical repair.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Widnerlande Arrives in Peoria


After six years, five hurricanes and tropical storms, one devastating earth quake one year ago this afternoon, a severe cholera epidemic that still continues, and Haiti's usual political violence, seven year old Widnerlande arrived in Peoria this afternoon.
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

With the Greatest Care and Love

Photo by John Carroll

The Peoria Journal Star had an article (advertisement) on the front page on Sunday. It was called "With the Greatest Care and Love".

The article provided a history of OSF from its beginning with the poor founding Sisters from Germany to the present day opulent medical center in Peoria.

Sister Judith Ann Duvall tries to assure Peoria that the Sisters are still in control of OSF through their governing boards. She is the chairperson of all the boards at OSF.

"We are deeply involved in the administration and governance of our health care system, and always will be," Duvall said, "because we came to religious life to give our lives to God by serving the sick, poor, injured, aged and dying 'with the greatest care and love.' "

If this is true, how can the Sisters reject Haitian Hearts patients that need surgery again at OSF. If Sister Judith Ann is "deeply involved in the administration and governance" of OSF, why is she letting OSF's Haitian Hearts patients die?

The Journal Star article then quotes president and CEO of OSF-Saint Francis Medical Center Keith Steffen. One has to stop shaking one's head long enough to read all of Mr. Steffen's scripted quotes:

"The Ministry Development program started by the Sisters allows us to reinforce our heritage as a Catholic, faith-based organization throughout OSF HealthCare system, all seven of our hospitals and our other entities," said Keith Steffen.

Mr. Steffen, who is not Catholic but likes his Catholic pay check, continues:

"Ministry development helps us promote and protect our identity in a society that challenges our Catholic ethical religious directives. It encourages a role of advocacy for the underprivileged, disenfranchised, and the poor, much as our founding Sisters did," Steffen said.

Mr. Steffen, of course, stopped Haitian Hearts patients coming to OSF through a missive from OSF's legal counsel, Douglass Marshall. Haitian Hearts has now lost three young Haitians who were operated at OSF but not allowed to come back to OSF for repeat surgery ten years later. (Two other young OSF patients in Haiti are literally clinging to life right now. Both have been homeless during part of 2010 after the earthquake which occurred one year ago tomorrow. Both have been denied repeat heart surgery at OSF.)

But OSF did build their 280 million dollar Milestone Project during the last decade which includes a bright shiny new Children's Hospital of Illinois that is open to anyone-- unless one is an OSF Haitian Hearts patient.

So, I think OSF speaks with forked tongue with the Journal Star being their main messenger to the public.

OSF will change for the better some day. But it won't be tomorrow. OSF is embedded too well in Peoria and who wants to challenge the nuns? They can't be wrong, can they?

OSF's Problems Continue

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Photos by John Carroll
OSF-Saint Francis Medical Center
January 10, 2010

Leona Deemie, pictured above, states that she was abused as a child at St. Francis Hospital when she was hospitalized with polio.

OSF offered her $17,000 dollars and the gag order which would have prevented her from speaking about her abuse or the settlement.

Leona refused the money and terms from OSF.

When I talked with Sister Judith Anne about very important issues in 2001, Sister was unable to find the courage to talk with a nurse that would have told her the truth. I felt then, as I do now, that Sister was advised not to hear the truth because so many people at the top of OSF would be culpable.

So Sister is taking the same approach with Leona Deemie ten years later. Unfortunately, she listens to her counsel and not her conscience. And OSF is suffering greatly.

And so are OSF's Haitian Hearts patients who have been neglected by OSF and have died.

See this news report on what happened today.

Also, see Elaine Hopkins post today.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Deportations to Haiti

Photo by John Carroll
Cholera Treatment Center
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

See this article from the Palm Beach Post about deporting Haitians back to Haitian prisons and their risk for cholera.

Activists fight plan to resume deportations to Haiti, citing post-earthquake conditions

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Updated: 5:46 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011
Posted: 2:18 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011

Florida immigration activists are asking the Obama administration to stop planned deportations to Haiti, citing the festering cholera epidemic there, other lingering dangers from last year's massive earthquake and recent political violence.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced in December that this month, it would resume deportations to Haiti that were halted after the quake last Jan.12.

The first individuals scheduled to be deported are Haitians who had been incarcerated for crimes in the United States, were released and benefitted temporarily from the moratorium on repatriations after the quake.

According to the activists, about 100 such Haitians - many from South Florida - have already been picked up by immigration authorities and transferred to a holding facility in Louisiana before being shipped back.

ICE officials say that, according to law, the federal government can not detain such individuals for any significant time beyond their sentences. ICE then either must remove them from the country or release them back into the U.S. population, despite histories of serious crime.

The activists, however, say no Haitian should be sent back to their native country right now given the post-earthquake devastation and the political upheaval that has followed recent, disputed presidential elections.

"We ask President Obama to hold off on removing Haitian nationals from this country in light of the horrific conditions now facing our neighboring nation," said Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.

"It is within his power to show leadership and prevent a civil liberties and human rights disaster."

The cholera epidemic poses real dangers to criminal deportees, according to the activists.

Cholera struck Haiti last summer and by December 15 more than 2400 deaths had been recorded. At least 48 of those deaths occurred in Haiti's prisons, where cholera was first diagnosed in November.

"It is against Haitian law, but the deportees usually spend about two weeks locked up," says Michelle Karshan, executive director of Alternative Chance, a non-profit organization that works with former convicts. "And if they don't have family members to claim them they are detained indefinitely."

Karshan says cholera works particularly fast in Haitian prisons and jails where there is no clean water or food, inmates share squalid, unsanitary conditions and there is often little or no medical care.

"You get dehydrated quickly and without the proper medical care you can die in two to three hours from cholera," she said.

Steve Forester, Miami-based spokesman for the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, decried the pending repatriations.

"What they are doing is sending people to police station holding cells and prisons where cholera has already claimed at least 48 lives, where clean drinking water is not given or available and people can die from cholera in a day," Forester said.

Newly elected Congresswoman Federica Wilson, D-Miami, whose district includes Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood, also opposes the policy.

"I am keenly aware of the devastation and the impact the present situation has on the constituents in my district and on their families in Haiti," Wilson said in a prepared statement.

"My Congressional district includes the largest Haitian population in America, so I am faced with the misery and the suffering on a daily basis."

ICE spokesperson Barbara Gonzalez said the flights repatriating Haitians are expected to start in mid-January, adding that resuming the deportations is " consistent with our domestic immigration enforcement priorities."

ICE officials say in 2011 they expect to send back to Haiti about 700 criminal aliens who have been convicted of homicide, kidnapping, sexual assault, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, embezzlement, money laundering and extortion.

As for the health dangers posed to those being sent back, Gonzalez said that ICE was mindful of the issue.

"The Department of State has been working with the government of Haiti to ensure that the resumption of removals is conducted in a safe, humane manner with minimal disruption to ongoing rebuilding efforts," she said.

The activists say despite the serious convictions, the would-be deportees have stayed out of trouble since being released from prison.They said they would continue to pressure the Obama administration to change the policy before the repatriations begin.

Thursday, six human rights groups filed an emergency petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), to halt the deportations. They include the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center of Miami and the University of Miami School of Law.

The Catholic Post and Haiti

The Catholic Post of Peoria reports on Haiti in this article.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Why Don't the Haitians have Birth Control?"

If it were up to OSF-Saint Francis Medical Center, they probably WOULD have birth control. I am sure some ethical loopholes could be created by the OSF and The Catholic Diocese of Peoria to make this possible.

See Maria's post for the other side of the story.