Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bishop Clark: No attempt to shorten patient's life

In 2006 Gary Harvey of Horseheads, NY suffered a severe brain injury.  By May 2009 he was breathing on his own and just needed to receive nutrition through a feeding tube.  By that time he was also a ward of Chemung County and a patient at St. Joseph's Hospital  in Elmira.

That month the Catholic hospital's ethics committee recommended the removal of Mr. Harvey's feeding tube, an action which would have lead to his death by starvation and/or dehydration.  The county, as his legal guardian, then petitioned a NY State Supreme Court judge for permission to remove the feeding tube.  The judge, however, refused to rubber-stamp the request and asked for more information.  Chemung County ultimately withdrew the request.

Several advocacy organizations, such as the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse (NASGA), ultimately became involved in the case.

According to a report (my emphasis), 

In a January, 2010 letter to Bishop Matthew Clark in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, NASGA president, Elaine Renoire, cited: "The guardian attempted to terminate his life and would have been successful had Mrs. Harvey not taken it to the media. St. Joseph's Hospital's Ethics Committee chose to participate in what would have been Gary Harvey's execution rather than prevent it. NASGA is asking you to find out why."

Bishop Matthew Clark responded nearly one month later saying, "I am convinced that St. Joseph Hospital complies with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, that the Hospital is complying with the Order of the Court, and that there has been no attempt to shorten Mr. Harvey's life."

It would seem that our bishop does not equate the recommendation to remove a feeding tube with an attempt to shorten a patient's life.

Lord, have mercy!

1 comment:

SH said...

This is Sick...He ought to be ashamed and chaised....This puts catholic relgion to shame....Why are you not helping the Harvey's?

Is this what our conutry has become?