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Answering

Jerri,
First, I want everyone to know that I pray for this baby and his mother every time I think of him. I hope the doctors are wrong – but I doubt it. There are simply too many doctors referenced in the report from the Ethics Committee for me to believe that there is a mistake, that Emilio is not dying and that treatment can change this.

I’m copying this to your email address, Jerri, as well as answering on the same public forum where you wrote:

Beverly,

I would like to see some support for your claim that the Bishop has been attacked. If you are accusing me of that, then you are committing defamation.

I have seen no attacks on the Bishop. What is your source?

Furthermore, in your last post, you quoted an article which you represented as a statement by me that this particular hospital had a bed to free up. First, I didn’t say that to the reporter and I don’t know where she got that. Second, even if I had, the context of the statement was about apparent conflicts of interest.

There is an apparent conflict of interest when a committee that is dominated by people with ties to the hospital make these kinds of decisions–because of the economics.

I am also concerned about the representations that you have been making about the medical condition of Emilio–much of which is contrary to the chart. You are getting close to defamation by representing his condition as worse than it is. This could impact our efforts to tranfer him to a place that will trach him so that he can go home or to long term care.

Further, some of the information you are discussing–though distorted–does not appear to come from the media reports. This leads me to wonder if you are receiving HIPAA protected information in a distorted form.

Are you?

“Defamation?” I think that’s a legal term and one that I perceive as a threat in itself, especially with the repetition. And this is why it’s difficult to talk to lawyers.

From the moment you asked Wesley Smith to post back in February, and made your own additions, you began a process which attacks me and every doctor, nurse, ward clerk and housekeeper who comes in contact with patients, and who would need to have consciences that would allow them to be complicit in “freeing a bed.” Your actions haven’t only affected people seeking to reach reporters and their audiences, legislators and the hospital officials that receive your legal notices.

The damage goes far beyond any legal remedy – our integrity and the ability to live up to the professional duties that you accuse us of not doing is damaged and at risk for more damage.

This little boy is alive because many people that you represent as more interested in ending his life used their skills and risked their reputations to continue his medical care. Some of them, I assume – I don’t know for sure) even after they knew you were giving press releases, writing briefs, and filing lawsuits. At least one someone stepped up to relieve the pressure from a pneumothorax caused by the ventilator, evidently more than once since the first Ethics Committee meeting in February.

You accuse me of breaking a Federal law by divulging HIPPA (a misnamed law if I ever saw one) -protected information.

I can assure you that I would not bring to the public what I know to be protected under my duty, which is more of a constraint on me than any law. If I had information from another physician (or even had received information because I am a physician) from anywhere other than public records, I probably wouldn’t write in public.

I have tried to be careful to note my opinions from experience and reading and to document my sources, making copies from the articles and putting links to them on the blog. It’s as I’ve said: after a certain point, the organ and system breakdown becomes predictable.

I would like to know how the North Country Gazette obtained a copy of the Ethics Committee Report from March 9th.

Follow the links.

I have no idea what you mean by “context.” The quote attributed to you about freeing the bed was copied and pasted and linked from the original article. It’s here, still, tonight:

Emilio’s physicians determined his condition is irreversible and their decision to take him off life support is supported by the hospital’s ethics committee. Gonzales’ attorneys argue it is a conflict of interest.

“You have a treating doctor who makes the initial decision, then you have an ethics committee at that same hospital with, frankly, a very clear conflict of interest,” Gonzales’ attorney Jerri Lynn Ward said. “They have something, a bed they can free up basically, if their decision goes unchallenged.”

How could there be any “context” other than an understanding that the treating doctor, the ethics committee, and everyone else at the hospital value freeing a bed more than care for this patient, his life, and the truth?

And yet, tonight, while denying that you said this and/or saying that the context made it permissible for you to say it, you again mention “the economics.”

Pro-lifeBlogs, June Maxam at the North Country Gazetteand others picked up a common source giving the name of the Bishop and others, along with their phone numbers accusing them of going along with murder and killing – apparently quoting Melanie Childers. I won’t quote it again, here. I did send it in the email.

About bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)

Discussion

One thought on “Answering

  1. >First, I did not accuse YOU of breaking a federal law. If you are receiving information from someone in the hospital, THEY are breaking federal law and not you. Second, the ethics committee does have conflicts of interest whether you want to acknowledge it or not–and there ARE economic conflicts of interest. I don't know what more to do to try to make you understand what a conflict of interest is. And, it doesn't matter whether the conflict impacted the committee's decision or not–it's there.Regardless, the bed quote was pulled out the reporter's butt. All I said was that ethics committees have apparent conflicts of interest because there are economics involved here. You can believe that or not, I don't care.As for Melanie Childers letter, I am going to ask Tim to take that down. I didn't read the whole thing when it was posted and, I agree, that's a terrible thing to say.You may think it's difficult to talk to lawyers, but I also find it difficult to talk to doctors who cannot seem to fathom that there are two sides to every story and that they shouldn't have the final god-like power to decide which story is true–with no oversite except by a committee which is dominated by people dependent for their livlihood on the hospital. This law merely reinforces that tendency.The fact that you take this personally and go on the attack WHEN YOU HAVEN'T EVEN SEEN THE RECORDS AND HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT REGARDING HIS CONDITION, tells me that you believe that, you too, should have unbridled power to make decisions for other people.Doctor's aren't God and they aren't qualified to make moral judgments about whether a person's life–or whatever is left of it, is valuable to that person and his family.You can attack me all you want–but when you start disparaging this baby's condition on the internet, I draw the line. If you got all this from the ethics committee report–you seem to forget that the committee never reviewed the records themselves. The hospital is trying to help us with a transfer, you are not helping.

    Posted by Jerri Lynn Ward, J.D. | March 22, 2007, 12:46 pm

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