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Catholic hospitals refused rape victim help
The heads of gynaecology at the two hospitals. Photo: DPA

Catholic hospitals refused rape victim help

Published: 18 Jan 2013 15:49 GMT+01:00
Updated: 18 Jan 2013 15:49 GMT+01:00

Two Catholic hospitals in Cologne refused to examine a woman who said she had been raped to avoid having to offer her advice on abortion or the morning-after pill.

The German doctors' association has sharply criticized the hospitals - St Vinzenz-Krankenhaus and Heilig-Geist-Krankenhaus, while an investigation is being conducted to see if they broke the law.

The 25-year-old woman was seemingly drugged with knock-out drugs in her drink at a party in Cologne in December, and then raped. She woke up on a bank in the Kalk district of the city the morning afterwards, the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper reported.

An emergency doctor who treated her sent her to a hospital for examination and for the collection of potential evidence. But she was turned away from the one Catholic hospital after another. They had both adopted policies banning doctors from conducing such procedures – because it would entail offering advice about abortion.

Doctors who ignored this rule could expect to be sacked, the Frankfurter Rundschau said.

They even refused to help when the emergency doctor assured them she had already given the woman the necessary advice, and had already prescribed her the morning-after pill to prevent a pregnancy.

A spokesman for the Cologne archbishopric told the paper that Catholic hospitals had a general policy of not offering even emergency contraception. But he said he could not understand why the hospitals concerned had also refused to take the possible evidence from the woman.

On Friday, the Marburger Bund doctors' association (MB) sharply criticized the hospitals, and said they should have at least offered her some counselling. Potential legal steps against the doctors involved were also being checked, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported.

Rudolf Henke, chairman of the MB, said he had never heard of such a thing, and that he assumed there was at best a serious lack of communication between the hospital managers and the doctors.

"One owed this young woman at least the counselling - and all the counselling," Henke told broadcaster ARD's Morgenmagazin show.

The Catholic foundation which operates the hospitals, the Cellitinnen zur heiligen Maria has apologized to the woman, and said the rules had not been understood by some staff.

The North Rhine-Westphalia state Health Ministry has started an investigation to work out whether the hospitals had broken the law.

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Your comments about this article

16:31 January 18, 2013 by Zubair Khan
Where went highly practicised relgious ethical and moral values in this case?
16:39 January 18, 2013 by raandy
How does anyone put any faith in this organization. Pedophile Clergy, and anti abortion dogma even when the victim was raped.
17:15 January 18, 2013 by Englishted
"Doctors who ignored this rule could expect to be sacked"

Like to see this one taken to law ,fired for giving medical treatment ,or how about aiding and abetting in withholding evidence in a rape case?
19:59 January 18, 2013 by lucksi
Ahh, religion. Where your invisible sky fairy is more important than the oath you swore.

If the hippocratic oath is still a thing that is.
21:58 January 18, 2013 by wood artist
Somewhere, as I recall, there's a statement that goes "First, do no harm." Between that, and the Hippocratic Oath, something got lost here. If you sign up to be a doctor, you don't get to pick and choose which patients deserve your skills. In a mass incident you might have to perform triage, and maybe there...and only there...would you make such decisions. THIS clearly wasn't that, and these folks basically just said "you're screwed." No pun intended.

Termination and stripping their license isn't enough punishment, but it would be a start. The hospital should suffer also, and this is one of the few cases where I would actually advocate the victim file a lawsuit. No, the money won't change anything for her, but perhaps a large (huge) amount might awaken the Church to some of the most basic teachings of Jesus. Who's the Samaritan here? Clearly the Church didn't learn from that parable.

wa
00:50 January 19, 2013 by Eric1
Catholics better learn the only religion excepted today is Socialism. Killing unborn, unwanted humans is it's pride and joy.
08:11 January 19, 2013 by hech54
Oh boy.....another idiotic American religious numbnut who thinks Germany is a socialist country. Thank you for the laugh Eric.
09:03 January 19, 2013 by The-ex-pat
08:11 January 19, 2013 by hech54

Oh boy.....another idiotic American religious numbnut who thinks Germany is a socialist country. Thank you for the laugh Eric.

Amazing the number of people who choose to freely live in a socialist country like Germany when freedom awaits them in so many other countries (like their own)...........lol

I wonder what the health insurance companies have to say about this, they have been very, very quiet about the whole thing, as have the politicians, and mainstream media. It was only a couple of weeks ago where we saw that an Indian doctor who was pregnant and had such complications that an abortion was the only option to save her life was refused medical treatment in Ireland and died provoking condemnation from around the world. Either Germany does not read the international sections of the news or it does not interest them.....
09:28 January 19, 2013 by freechoice
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
09:39 January 19, 2013 by The-ex-pat
09:28 January 19, 2013 by freechoiceWhy kill the innocent lives, when the both adults are clearly at fault?

So what part of being raped is her fault exactly???

I suppose you would have let this lady die too??

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2264608/Savita-Halappanavar-Husband-demands-answers-inquest.html
09:42 January 19, 2013 by Berlin fuer alles
If it was a priest looking to cover up his rape of a child the church would have acted much swifter than they did for this poor girl. DISGRACE
10:52 January 19, 2013 by hech54
09:03 January 19, 2013 by The-ex-pat

"Amazing the number of people who choose to freely live in a socialist country like Germany when freedom awaits them in so many other countries (like their own)...........lol"

Ah yes. Back to the republican right-wing nutjob tactic called "repeat it over and over and it will become true"....you are either a disgrace to, or a shining example of the American education system. And then there is the mentioning of the term "mainstream media"....which in republican right-wing nutjob world means "anything but Fox News".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_socialist_countries
13:15 January 19, 2013 by wood artist
@freechoice

Not that it matters much, because your comment has little to do with the story, since the hospitals refused to conduct the examination, there was likely no way to recover the DNA that would identify her rapist, so should she become pregnant proving responsibility would be pretty tough, wouldn't it? Hmmm, maybe you should address your thoughts to the doctors who refused to help this woman.

wa
13:46 January 19, 2013 by The-ex-pat
10:52 January 19, 2013 by hech54

Ah yes. Back to the republican right-wing nutjob tactic called "repeat it over and over and it will become true"....you are either a disgrace to, or a shining example of the American education system.

It may come as a great shock, but it is not just American who are members of this forum. As for your remark, mine to yours was in addition to what you had written to Eric. I guess your great American education system did not go to deeply into English, reading between the lines, irony and humour.
14:18 January 19, 2013 by hech54
Sarcasm does not translate easily.
14:56 January 19, 2013 by Englishted
@ The-ex-pat, and @ hech54

Calm down chaps you are singing off the same sheet, but I think it was irony not sarcasm .

As for Eric ----shame .
15:16 January 19, 2013 by raandy
freechoice I would assume from your opening statement you consider life beginning when the sperm combines with the egg and meiosis begins.

This person was drugged and taken advantage of sexually, the sperm was deposited with out her consent. She is not the cause only the resultant of a criminal act against her. There is no way she should have to give birth in this situation..

What kind of preventative measures should this person have taken? You are eluding that she brought this upon herself without any real idea to what happened.

If in your opinion there is a God, an Almighty then all the terrible things I see one human doing to another would make any Deity throw the towel in and call the human race a lost cause.
11:56 January 20, 2013 by nomadams
freechoice: if someone puts their penis in you and you did not agree to it, that's called rape. it's really hard to agree to it if you're unconscious because you've been drugged. let's hope that, whether you're a man or woman, you never experience what this girl did because then, only then, might you understand what rape is. obviously your religious dogma prevents you from comprehending the reality of rape. ignorance is blliss?
14:54 January 20, 2013 by Vargaz
If this is not an egregious lapse in Human Dignity, what is? Perhaps if it was the daughter of the inexcusably negligent hospital staff that was raped things might have been different. We shall remember this when they come around for donations. Finally, this exposes the hypocrisy of the law (created to protect us) and life and more poignantly, the unbridgeable chasm between the law's ideals and life's hard realities. All of this is but an aside to the real Scourge of Mankind - Religion.
20:53 January 20, 2013 by rosebudnv
Yet again, I am disgusted by the Catholic church's dogma, attitudes and actions.
11:21 January 25, 2013 by DoubleDTown
nevermind the hospital, I want to hear about how she got down off the bank that she woke up on top of. bank buildings are usually at least 1 story tall
12:50 January 25, 2013 by ichbines
just one more violent act from the most violent passive force on the face of the earth, the ___ church. [fill in the blank]
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