Monday, January 7, 2008

Should Saint Francis Medical Center Remain Catholic?--Part III

The preamble to the Ethical and Religious Directives states:

The Directives “are concerned primarily with institutionally based Catholic health care services. They address the sponsors, trustees, administrators, chaplains, physicians, health care personnel, and patients or residents of these institutions and services.”

Therefore the Board of Directors at OSF, administrators at Saint Francis Medical Center (SFMC), chaplains at SFMC, and the ethicists at SFMC and OSF Corporate, and the OSF legal team, are all being called upon to follow the norms in the Directives.

Individuals at OSF included in the above would include Doug Marshall who is OSF’s attorney. Mr. Marshall has written that OSF-SFMC will not accept Haitian Hearts patients. Keith Steffen is OSF-SFMC CEO and Paul Kramer, Executive Director of Children’s Hospital of Illinois, acted in ways that were not supportive of sick Haitian children. Mr. Kramer delayed surgery in Peoria and also called the American Consulate in Haiti. OSF ethicists Joseph Piccione and Gerald McShane sent mixed messages or no messages supporting Haitian children in need of heart surgery.

As the source referenced below states, if the above named individuals to not want to follow the norms of the Directives, they are free to disaffiliate from the Catholic institution if they think their consciences would be violated.

The Catholic bishops state:

“The dialogue between medical science and Christian faith has for its primary purpose the common good of all human persons.”

In Peoria’s situation, the Directives have not been promulgated by Bishop Daniel Jenky. With this weakness, OSF-SFMC has been allowed to ignore certain aspects of the good will and good actions that the Directives implore be done by Catholic health care facilities.

(From Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services:Seeking Understanding--A Collection of Selected Readings. The Catholic Health Association.)

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