Hospital Employee Fired for Revealing Abortions

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Leonard Moreau maintains he was fired last January for disclosing that abortions were being performed at Elliot Hospital of Manchester, New Hampshire, where he used to work. The hospital says he was let go for breaching patient confidentiality.

He has now won a preliminary round in his lawsuit against Optima Health, the company that owns the hospital.

Judge William Groff said a jury could reasonably conclude that Optima fired Moreau out of bad faith, malice or retaliation. The ruling allows Moreau's lawsuit against the company to go forward.

The trial, scheduled for May [1998], may add to the controversy over abortions at Elliot, which have been the center of attention in the merger between that hospital and Manchester Catholic Center. The Catholic Church threatened to pull out of the merger when Elliot's policy to continue abortions became public. Last month, however, Optima agreed to ban all abortions at Elliot.

Moreau's lawyer, James Winston, said his client did not breach patient confidentiality because the patient's name was never revealed. "I don't know who she is. My client doesn't know," Winston said.

Winston wants the hospital to provide medical records of the 17-year-old woman who was scheduled for an abortion Nov. 8, 1996, but Optima is asking the judge to keep some records confidential.

An Optima spokeswoman initially said no abortion had taken place that day. But in court records, Optima said the schedule was accurate. "Yes, an Elliot Hospital spokesperson stated that the operation schedule [including the abortion] was incorrect," court records state. "The spokesperson was apparently mistaken."


Source: Pro-Life Infonet, 23 Jan 1998.
Posted 6 Sep 2000.

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