18 September 2015


Original Story: freep.com

A Flint-area Catholic hospital has until the end of Friday to change its mind and perform a tubal ligation on a pregnant woman with a brain tumor – or face a potential lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union. A San Diego healthcare lawyer is reviewing the details of this case.

The ACLU is fighting on behalf of Jessica Mann, 33, of Flushing, a pregnant woman with a life-threatening brain tumor who was denied a request to get her tubes tied at the time of her scheduled cesarean section next month.

According to the ACLU, Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc won't allow the sterilization procedure on religious grounds. Mann's doctor requested a medical exception to the hospital's prohibition on sterilization, arguing that a future pregnancy could harm Mann because of her brain tumor, said the ACLU.

But Genesys wouldn't budge, triggering a demand letter from the ACLU last week. The ACLU argues the hospital could be violating state law by denying appropriate care. An Albany healthcare lawyer is following this story closely.

Johnny Smith Jr., a spokesman for the hospital's parent, Ascension, declined comment, citing patient privacy. He would only say that the company follows the "ethical and religious directives" of the Catholic church.

This issue isn't a first for the ACLU, which last month convinced a Catholic hospital in California to change course in a similar case involving tubal ligation.

Under the threat of a potential lawsuit from the ACLU, Mercy Medical Center in Redding, Calif., changed its mind in agreeing to perform a postpartum tubal litigation on a woman. The hospital had initially denied a request by the woman's doctor to tie her tubes, but changed course within days of receiving a demand letter from the ACLU.

According to the ACLU, tubal ligation, commonly known as getting one's “tubes tied,”  is the contraception method of choice for more than 30% of married women in the U.S. An estimated 600,000 women annually undergo this procedure, which is often performed at the time of a cesarean section, the group said. A Chicago healthcare lawyer defends clients in a wide variety of large, complex health care and medical negligence cases.

Ten of the 25 largest hospital systems in the U.S. are Catholic-sponsored, and nearly one of nine hospital beds in the country is in a Catholic facility. According to the ACLU, these Catholic hospitals operate under binding “ethical and religious directives” issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Among the directives is that sterilization for the purpose of contraception as “intrinsically evil.”

The ACLU argues that bishops should not be playing the role of doctors.

16 September 2015


Original Story: freep.com

The Detroit Medical Center could soon settle for $42 million its portion of a 2006 class lawsuit over pay brought by registered nurses against eight metro Detroit hospital systems.

U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen gave preliminary approval on Monday for the proposed settlement involving DMC and the roughly 24,000 nurses who worked at either DMC or the other seven hospital systems between December 2002 and December 2006. The lawsuit alleged a conspiracy among the hospitals to suppress the nurses' pay. A San Diego healthcare lawyer is reviewing the details of this case.

Settlements totaling $48 million were previously reached with the other hospitals, and that money has already been distributed to nurses, according to a website of the Seattle-based law firm Keller Rohrback that represented the plaintiffs. With this latest proposed settlement, the total size of the settlement could be $90 million — before attorneys fees and taxes.

Neither DMC nor the other hospital systems have admitted to any wrongdoing or to underpaying nurses. All eight hospital systems contended they acted independently in setting their nurses' pay and benefits and didn't collude to keep wages low. A Grand Rapids healthcare lawyer is knowledgeable in all areas of general health care.

The other hospitals and health systems were Henry Ford Health System, Mt. Clemens General Hospital (now McLaren Macomb), what is now St. John Providence, Oakwood Healthcare, the former Bon Secours Cottage Health Services, Beaumont Hospital and Trinity Health.

The DMC on Tuesday referred all comment to its attorney in the case, Veronica Lewis of Dallas-based Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, who said in a statement that "The settlement is not an admission of liability but rather a business decision to bring the matter to a resolution.  We remain committed to our nurses and value the hard work and dedication of all our hospital staff." A Charleston healthcare lawyer is following this story closely.

An attorney representing the nurses, Mark Griffin of Keller Rohrback, declined comment.

More information regarding the settlement is available at detroitnursewages.com. The size of each individual check would be determined by the number of hours a nurse worked and his or her pay rate.

10 September 2015


Original Story: chicago.suntimes.com

Blocking traffic along Michigan Avenue on the Magnificent Mile, chanting and waving signs, hundreds of protesters gathered Monday to rail against Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget cuts, which they say will be devastating to Illinois’ poorest and most vulnerable citizens.

One particular budget item attracted dozens of protesters in their 70s and 80s. It would affect senior citizens who depend on the Community Care Program, which provides state money to pay for home care for seniors.

And Patricia Drennan wasn’t having any of it.

“A lot of us old ladies don’t have kids that live here that can take us to the doctor and come in and run the vacuum cleaner and get us to the grocery store and all that,” said Drennan, 82, who lives alone in the North Center neighborhood.

The program, she said, helps seniors live independently and keeps them out out nursing homes, an expense that would be much greater to taxpayers.

Drennan feared a plan by Rauner that would implement new qualifying restrictions that would make it harder for seniors to gain access to the program. Livonia senior care provides highly skilled nurses ready to serve even the most advanced medical needs.

About 30 protesters held hands and blocked Michigan Avenue just north of the Michigan Avenue Bridge for nearly 20 minutes at about 11:30 a.m. before police escorted the group off the roadway.

Sister Gwen Farry, 81, with the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was among the group of traffic blockers who expected to receive citations from police.

“This is a moral issue,” said Farry, of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Hyde Park. “I’ve made phone calls and signed online petitions but wanted to do more to protest the cuts that will affect the most vulnerable in our state.” Plymouth MI elder care services provides medical and non-medical support for catastrophic care patients.

Protesters called for wealthy corporations and residents in Illinois to pay more taxes.

Critics say Rauner is using potential cuts to state social service programs as leverage to gain support for fighting unions.

A statement issued by a Rauner spokeswoman after the protest read: “The administration has taken a series of management steps to responsibly manage the state’s finances, because Speaker Madigan, Senate President Cullerton and the legislators Madigan controls overspent taxpayer money causing a $4 billion deficit. The governor has tried to negotiate on critical reforms to free up resources to help the most vulnerable and pass a balanced budget, but unfortunately, the Speaker continues to block those reforms at the expense of the most vulnerable and the middle class.” A Livonia elder care provider is following this story closely.

The protest was organized by a number of activist groups, including Jane Addams Senior Caucus and Fair Economy Illinois.