We often forget how distressing the pervasive pro-death mentality, that often inhabits modern medicine, can be for pro-life health care workers. As one of our ProWomanProLife commenters wrote on my last post: “it is much easier to say what someone must do when you know that it will never be you who has to put the needle filled with poison in someone’s arm and watch the life drain out of his face. Or that it will never be you who suctions mutilated pieces of a baby out of someone’s body.”
This piece, again from The Protection of Conscience Project (quickly becoming one of my favorite “go to” sites for information) is a brilliant analysis of moral distress defined as:
” … painful feelings and/or the psychological disequilibrium that occurs when nurses are conscious of the morally appropriate action a situation requires, but cannot carry out that action because of institutional obstacles; lack of time, lack of supervisory support, exercise of medical power, institutional policy, or legal limits.”
The actual case study, however, is utterly tragic and I presume, totally illegal. It is the story of Baby Mary, a newborn starved to death in a Toronto hospital, over the span of 27 days. Prepare to be heartbroken, to say the least.
Quoting Pope Emeritus Benedict in Caritas & Veritate:
…openness to life is crucial to the development of society… a society that moves towards the denial or suppression of life ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good.