Ask Catholic Hospital to Take Responsibility for the Deaths of Two Unborn Children

Target: St. Thomas More Hospital’s Chief Administrative Officer, Sheri Trahern

Goal: Ask St. Thomas More Catholic Hospital to take responsibility for malpractice and stop contradicting Catholic beliefs to avoid blame.

In 2006, 31-year-old Lori Stodghill died at St. Thomas More’s Catholic Hospital in Canyon City, Colorado.  She was 7 months pregnant with twins, who also died at the hospital. Her husband has now filed a lawsuit against the hospital, claiming that an emergency caesarian section (C-section) should have been performed in an attempt to save the lives of the unborn twins. In a surprising turn of events, the hospital has denied responsibility by claiming that fetuses are not people, therefore no wrongful deaths occurred.

According to state law, fetuses are not considered people until birth. However, the Catholic Church has long argued to revise these laws to define a person as a fertilized egg. The State District Court abided by state law, but Jeremy Stodghill is now headed to the Colorado Supreme Court to continue his fight.

The Catholic Church has a long history of fighting against abortion, birth control, and other forms of reproductive rights. Catholic Health Initiatives, the organization that owns this hospital and dozens of others, has not commented specifically on the case, but claimed that it follows Catholic teachings in all of its facilities. Abortions, birth control, tubal litigation, and hysterectomies cannot be obtained at any of their hospitals (except in emergency cases) for the reason that Catholicism teaches that women should consider a fetus a person at conception. However, when it comes to defending against a lawsuit, the hospital is now claiming that fetuses are not people to prevent having to take responsibility for the deaths of two unborn children.

Many people choose to go to a Catholic hospital because they believe the facility will follow Church teachings. Before Lori Stodghill died at this hospital, she no doubt believed that her unborn twins would be considered people by the hospital and that every effort would be made to save their lives. Ask St. Thomas More Catholic Hospital to admit fault for these deaths, and stop contradicting Church doctrine just to avoid blame.


Dear St. Thomas More Hospital Chief Administrative Officer, Sheri Trahern,

As you know, a case involving the death of Lori Stodghill and her two unborn twins was recently decided in the State District Court in favor of your hospital. Mrs. Stodghill’s husband brought suit against St. Thomas More because he felt an emergency C-section should have been performed to save the lives of his unborn children. The attorneys who defended your hospital denied responsibility for the deaths by claiming that the fetuses were not people and a wrongful death suit cannot have fetuses as the plaintiffs.

The Catholic Church has a long history of defining a person as a fetus when it comes to reproductive rights. The Church has been very vocal about opposing abortion and even birth control. Catholic Health Initiatives has reported that all of their facilities, including your hospital, follow Catholic teachings. Yet when it comes to paying up for mistakes made at your hospital, your facility is suddenly claiming that fetuses are not people to avoid blame.

Although in concordance with state law, your claim that fetuses are not people is vehemently opposed to Catholic teachings. Many patients chose your hospital because of your commitment to Catholicism. Surely, prior to Lori Stodghill’s death, she felt assured that her unborn twins would be considered people by your staff and every effort would be taken to ensure their survival. Please take responsibility for the deaths of her unborn twins and stop contradicting Church teachings to avoid blame.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Abortion Protest in Ireland via Peter Morrison with Associated Press

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One Comment

  1. Mitch Dormont says:

    Not at all surprised at this hypocrisy!

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