A US Bishop has stripped an Arizona hospital of its Catholic affiliation after medics saved the life of a mother by terminating her pregnancy.
The story is remarkably similar to ther Savita Halappanavar case in Galway, according to a report in the Irish Times newspaper.
The report states that Bishop Thomas Olmsted has re-affirmed his decision to disown a hospital founded by the Sisters of Mercy more than a hundred years ago.
Bishop Olmsted made his original decision in 2010 after a woman in her 20s had a termination to save her own life at St Joseph’s Hospital.
The bishop announced in December of that year that the hospital could ‘no longer be considered to be Catholic’ in light of the decision to carry out an abortion.
He has reaffirmed his decision in recent months as the hospital ‘did not faithfully adhere to the ethical and religious directives for Catholic health-care services.’
The paper reports that the case involved a woman in her 20s with a history of abnormally high blood pressure that was under control before she became pregnant.
Doctors were concerned about the extra burden that pregnancy would place on her heart.
She was constantly monitored during the early stages of pregnancy when tests showed that her condition was deteriorating rapidly.
The paper reports that before long her pulmonary hypertension had begun to seriously threaten her life.
The woman was informed by doctors that the ‘risk of death’ was high if she continued with the pregnancy.
After consultations with the patient, her family, her doctors and the hospital’s ethics team the decision was made to go ahead with an abortion in order to save the mother’s life.
Hospital president Linda Hunt said: “The hospital’s actions were consistent with our values of dignity and justice. If we are presented with a situation in which a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life, our first priority is to save both patients.
“If that is not possible we will always save the life we can save, and that is what we did in this case. Morally, ethically, and legally we simply cannot stand by and let someone die whose life we might be able to save.”