Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Dec 2, 2020 / 15:00 pm America/Denver (CNA).
A new coalition seeks to promote the rights of hospital patients to have “reasonable” access to family and clergy during the pandemic.
The Health Care Civil Rights Task Force is a project of the Christ Medicus Foundation, the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC), the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network, and other groups. The task force issued a statement on Nov. 19 calling for the protection of civil rights during the pandemic, “Defending the Fundamental Dignity and Health Care Civil Rights of All.”
The NCBC’s Dr. Jozef Zalot explained the significance of the statement on the rights of hospital patients to clergy and family visitation during the pandemic.
“We’ve have been stating that since the spring,” Zalot told CNA on Wednesday. “It is absolutely essential,” he said, “that people not have to die alone, and we’re hearing that in consults.” Families have called the center for bioethical consultations, he said, having to make life-or-death decisions for their loved ones while not allowed to be physically present with them at the hospital.
“It’s a huge issue, not only for the patients but for the family members,” Zalot said. “They’re being denied access to see their loved ones, to interact with them, to say goodbye to them, to receive the sacraments of the Church. It’s a huge, huge civil rights issue.”