243315 Standards in conflict: How Catholic health care doctrine interacts with ob-gyn physician practice

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 5:30 PM

Lori Freedman, PhD , ANSIRH and the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco, Oakland, CA
Debra Stulberg, MD , Department of Family Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
We present preliminary findings from a qualitative investigation into the bedside bioethics of religiously-affiliated health care institutions and their physician employees. One of every six hospitals in the United States is religiously-affiliated. Most Americans understand that Catholic-owned hospitals, which comprise 70% of religiously affiliated institutions, do not provide abortions. But it can come as a surprise to many, including physicians working with and within them, that Catholic employers prohibit other standard practices such as sterilization and contraception. In our interviews with ob-gyn physicians around the United States, we find that some are additionally surprised and concerned when life-saving abortion care, miscarriage management, and ectopic pregnancy are also affected by the doctrine. In their interviews, physicians explain how hospital restrictions impact their everyday practice in ways they did not necessarily anticipate when they took the job and how they learn to work around the restrictions in attempt to meet patients' needs.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe effects of religious doctrine on ob-gyn practice. 2.Identify ethical implications posed by care restrictions in the doctrine. 3.Describe unforeseen medical implications and work-around practices in emergency care.

Keywords: Reproductive Health Research, Health Care Access

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have designed, conducted, and analyzed this research with my co-investigator Debra Stulberg MD
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.