There’s a drug called lenalidomide that’s being used in a trial with cancer patients. The drug may be able to treat the cancer (yay!), but it has a nasty side effect: if you have children while on the drug, they may be born with birth defects like heart and limb deformities.
So if you’re giving patients the drug (or a placebo), you would want to warn them about the side effect, right? In addition, you’d want to inform the patients about their options regarding contraception, right?
This study will take place at Calvary Mater Hospital in Australia… which is a Catholic hospital. And you know how Catholics hate their birth control…
Under a clampdown at Newcastle’s Calvary Mater Hospital, doctors recruiting patients into clinical trials may no longer distribute information about contraception. Instead they are allowed to offer a ”statement of reproductive risks”, which advises participants to avoid pregnancy but gives no information on how to achieve this.
So the hospital’s Catholic administrators would rather see a baby born with birth defects than have someone use a condom or take a birth control pill. It’s irresponsible, unethical, woefully ignorant, and absolutely sickening.
At least some of the doctors recognize this:
Michael Seldon, a staff specialist haematologist at the hospital, which operates as part of NSW Health and is the city’s only cancer treatment centre, said he was considering defying his bosses and providing the information anyway when the first Newcastle patients suffering myelodysplastic syndrome, multiple myeloma or chronic lymphocytic leukaemia join national trials of the drug lenalidomide within weeks.
”It puts me in an invidious position [but] ethically I don’t believe I have any option,” he said. He saw no religious reason to withhold information on contraception, which people were free to reject. ”When you start imposing your views on someone it starts to become non-Christian.”
What’s the Catholic response?
… Martin Laverty, chief executive of Catholic Health Australia, defended the hospital: ”Scientists, ethicists, academics should feel very free to criticise it, but appreciate a Catholic hospital is built on those [ethical] foundations.” The Newcastle situation had been ”a legitimate testing of the boundaries of that ethical decision-making process”.
In other words, “The people who are experts in science and ethics says our plan is crazy… but we don’t care because we’re Catholics and we think we know better.”
“Appreciate” it? Fuck. No. If this is the “ethical foundation” of the hospital, let’s hope a collapse is imminent.
(Thanks to Matt for the link)