St. Joseph's "Catholic Values"

Disclaimer: I was “born” and raised Catholic. Baptized at about 1 month of age, have been through four of the seven holy sacraments, “lost the faith” at around 15 years of age and never looked back. Best decision I ever made.

I know this story is several months old now, but it isn’t too late to talk about it. St. Joseph’s Hospital and London Health Sciences Centre embarked on restructuring the hospital system here a long time ago and both hospitals say they are very well “integrated” now. Cliff Nordal, the current CEO of both hospitals, had a significant role in this restructuring.

Cliff Nordal is retiring, and good for him. Why wouldn’t he? He took in almost $800,000 in salary and benefits last year! Considering he’s been the CEO of St. Joseph’s for over 20 years, I’m sure he’s got a very comfortable nest egg to retire on.

Then the debate began: should LHSC and St. Joe’s continue under one CEO or go back to two? Well, St. Joe’s decided they wanted to go back to having their own CEO because “St. Joseph’s remains a health-care centre with a mandate based on Catholic values.”

I thought this was an interesting argument for a publicly funded organization. While some of the folks over at the blog of AM980’s Nathan Smith (a very well written blog entry at that) pointed out that Catholic-funded schools obviously promote “Catholic values,” they are also required to teach a provincially mandated curriculum. Don’t think for a second the potential similarities haven’t crossed my mind!

What I find most interesting is the “Catholic values” they want to promote, and the experiences friends of mine have had at the hands of the practitioners at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Seven deadly sinsSo, exactly what “values” are the staff so concerned about protecting and promoting that patients can’t get elsewhere?

  • The Catholic Church is anti-contraception. Given the seemingly rampant increase in sexually transmitted infections being seen in seniors engaging in promiscuous sex, would St. Joseph’s Hospital staff still promote the use of condoms?
  • Gluttony is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Would overweight/obese patients be treated differently, given staff may believe the patient is going to Hell? (Yes, it makes me laugh a little every time I see an overweight Catholic)
  • Greed is also one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Would very wealthy patients be given the cold shoulder because they spent their lives pursuing wealth? After all they’re going to Hell too, aren’t they?
  • What about members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities? I can only imagine what treatment they might receive!

Publicly funded healthcare institutions should adhere to the Canada Health Act and be done with it. Promoting Catholic “values” is irrelevant to providing good diagnostics, treatment and bedside manners. Leave your personal beliefs at home, stop costing taxpayers more than needs to be expensed (e.g. hire a single CEO to replace Mr. Nordal) and get on with providing the healthcare patients so badly need!