Catholic Health East
3805 West Chester Pike, Suite 100
Newtown Square, Pennsylvania 19073
Dear Ms. Persichilli,
Of the six Catholic hospitals operating within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, only Holy Redeemer does NOT fall under the very large umbrella of Catholic Health East:
- St. Mary Medical Center
- Mercy Health System (Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, Mercy Philadelphia Hospital, Mercy Suburban Hospital, and Nazareth Hospital).
- "For the women who are considering reduction and might read this, the dr. who will be doing my reduction, Dr. Craparo, questioned one of the commonly cited facts about selective reduction. I asked him about the often-heard statistic that the babies remaining after a reduction tend to be born early....Dr. Craparo said he was actually getting ready to study his own practice's results where the women stay with the practice for the duration of their pregnancy" (FertileThoughts.com, 8/9/10).
- "If you are willing to travel, I really loved Dr Craparo. Many women in this forum have recommended him. He is about a 2 hr drive from Manhattan (Abington PA)" (FertileThoughts.com, 6/9/11).
St. Mary Medical Center's web site did - and Mercy Health System's web site does - indicate association with Dr. Frank Craparo! Until recently, the St. Mary web site was even extolling Dr. Craparo's supposedly pioneering efforts in the prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome (While a "selective reduction" could not be performed at St. Mary's, it would cerainly be easy enough for Craparo to make arrangements for St. Mary's patients to go off site.). How could anyone at a Catholic Health East facility think that association with Dr. Craparo was/is morally acceptable? Well, a clue is provided on St. Mary Medical Center's web site with its disclaimer, regarding adherence to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ethical & Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services:
- "Health Care practitioners at St. Mary Medical Center abide by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services while providing care at any of the St. Mary Medical Center campuses. Many of these practitioners also provide services outside of St. Mary Medical Center where there is no institutional obligation to practice under the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. Patients are encouraged to continue to engage in a dialogue with these practitioners to express their religious and ethical choices regarding their treatment outside of St. Mary Medical Center."
Mercy Health System's web site suggests disturbing ignorance - even as to the existance of the most current edition of the ERDs:At the same time that the USCCB is urging people of good will to fight for conscience clause protections, Catholic Health East's seemingly cavalier attitude toward the ERDs is shocking. Catholic hospitals have no business allowing priveleges to physicians who are known to provide immoral services in their private practices or providing referrals to individuals who are known to provide immoral services. I believe that my opinion can be supported by the Vatican's Charter for Health Care Workers, as well as the ERDs.
While it appears that the names of Dr. Frank Craparo and his associate, Dr. Stephen Smith (In a widely publicized case, Dr. Smith was noted by the Huffington Post (& others) to have recommended abortion to a St. Mary Medical Center patient.), have been removed from the online directory of St. Mary Medical Center, both names remain on the online directory of Mercy Health System!
- As per the Vatican's Charter for Health Care Workers,
61. The objectives
of prenatal diagnoses warranting their request and practice should always be of benefit to the child and the mother; their purpose is to make possible therapeutic interventions, to bring assurance and peace to pregnant women who are anxious lest the fetus be deformed and are tempted to have an abortion, to prepare, if the prognosis is an unhappy one, for the welcome of a handicapped child.
Prenatal diagnosis 'is gravely contrary to the moral law when it contemplates the possibility, depending on the result, of provoking an abortion. A diagnosis revealing the existence of a deformity or an hereditary disease should not be equivalent to a death sentence.' [emphasis added]....
143. If the health care worker is faced with legislation favorable to abortion he "must refuse politely but firmly." "One can never obey a law that is intrinsically immoral, and this is so in the case of a law which admits, in principle, the lawfulness of abortion."
As a result, doctors and nurses are obliged to be conscientious objectors [emphasis added]
. The great, fundamental value of life makes this obligation a grave moral duty for medical personnel who are encouraged by the law to carry out abortions or to cooperate proximately in direct abortion.
Awareness of the inviolable value of life and of God's law protecting it, is antecedent to all positive human law. When the latter is contrary to God's law, conscience affirms its primary right and the primacy of God's law: "One must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29) [emphasis added].
"It is not always easy to follow one's conscience in obedience to God's law. It may entail sacrifice and disadvantages, and one can in no way discount this cost; sometimes heroism is called for if one is to be faithful to these demands. Nevertheless, it must be clearly stated that the road of genuine progress for the human person passes through this constant fidelity to a conscience upholding rectitude and truth." [emphasis added]
- As per the Ethical & Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, Fifth Edition,
5. Catholic health care services must adopt these Directives as policy, require adherence to them within the institution as a condition for medical privileges and employment, and provide appropriate instruction regarding the Directives for administration, medical and nursing staff, and other personnel.
9. Employees of a Catholic health care institution must respect and uphold the religious mission of the institution and adhere to these Directives. They should maintain professional standards and promote the institution’s commitment to human dignity and the common good.
37. An ethics committee or some alternate form of ethical consultation should be available to assist by advising on particular ethical situations, by offering educational opportunities, and by reviewing and recommending policies. To these ends, there should be appropriate standards for medical ethical consultation within a particular diocese that will respect the diocesan bishop’s pastoral responsibility as well as assist members of ethics committees to be familiar with Catholic medical ethics and, in particular, these Directives.
45. Abortion (that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus) is never permitted. Every procedure whose sole immediate effect is the termination of pregnancy before viability is an abortion, which, in its moral context, includes the interval between conception and implantation of the embryo. Catholic health care institutions are not to provide abortion services, even based upon the principle of material cooperation. In this context, Catholic health care institutions need to be concerned about the danger of scandal in any association with abortion providers [Emphasis added.].
50. Prenatal diagnosis is permitted when the procedure does not threaten the life or physical integrity of the unborn child or the mother and does not subject them to disproportionate risks; when the diagnosis can provide information to guide preventative care for the mother or pre- or postnatal care for the child; and when the parents, or at least the mother, give free and informed consent. Prenatal diagnosis is not permitted when undertaken with the intention of aborting an unborn child with a serious defect [Emphasis added.].32
54. Genetic counseling may be provided in order to promote responsible parenthood and to prepare for the proper treatment and care of children with genetic defects [Emphasis added], in accordance with Catholic moral teaching and the intrinsic rights and obligations of married couples regarding the transmission of life.
67. Decisions that may lead to serious consequences for the identity or reputation of Catholic health care services, or entail the high risk of scandal, should be made in consultation with the diocesan bishop or his health care liaison.
71. The possibility of scandal must be considered when applying the principles governing cooperation.45 Cooperation, which in all other respects is morally licit, may need to be refused because of the scandal that might be caused [Emphasis added.]. Scandal can sometimes be avoided by an appropriate explanation of what is in fact being done at the health care facility under Catholic auspices. The diocesan bishop has final responsibility for assessing and addressing issues of scandal, considering not only the circumstances in his local diocese but also the regional and national implications of his decision.46