In 1998, an Alabama nurse named Rose Church gave birth to a healthy baby girl and was discharged from the hospital 36 hours later. The Church family returned to the emergency room soon after, however, when Rose started experiencing complications. She was treated and released again.
Just 36 hours later, Rose Church died.
The family took their OB/GYN, Dr. Larry Stutts, to court in a wrongful death suit, arguing that Rose was discharged too quickly and without the necessary tests. The case was settled out of court, but the controversy surrounding the case prompted political action: less than a year after the nurse’s death, Alabama’s legislature unanimously approved a statewide law requiring a minimum of a 48-hour hospital stay for new mothers following normal, vaginal births, and 96-hour hospital stay for more complicated births, including C-sections.
The measure, pushed vigorously by the Church family, quickly became known as “Rose’s law.”
Nearly two decades later, Dr. Larry Stutts is now Republican state Sen. Larry Stutts. And just a few months into his tenure as a lawmaker, the former OB/GYN is getting right to work, targeting the law he helped inspire. The Washington Post reports:
Alabama state Sen. Larry Stutts (R) wants to repeal a woman’s legal right to remain in a hospital for at least two days after giving birth – a law legislators passed almost two decades ago after one of Stutts’s patients died of complications of a pregnancy. […]Stutts said in a post on his Facebook page that he’s trying to get the legislature out of the doctor-patient relationship.
“I am proud to say that I am hard at work removing one-size-fits-all Obamacare-style laws from the books in Alabama,” Stutts said. [Update: Stutts has pulled his bill. See below.]
Just so we’re absolutely clear, “Rose’s law” was passed in 1999 and has literally nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act.
On the contrary, it has everything to do with the death of one of Stutts’ patients.
The Alabama Political Reporter added that Stutts has found six “conservative colleagues” in the Republican-run state Senate who’ve joined him in trying to repeal “Rose’s law.” All six are men.
As if that weren’t quite enough, Alabama law requires patient notification when mammograms show dense tissue, a possible indicator of breast cancer. Stutts also wants to repeal this law – which just so happens to have been written by his predecessor, Democrat Roger Bedford, who wrote the law after his wife’s cancer was initially overlooked by her doctors.
The Republican state lawmaker added that he sees no need for what he calls “emotional legislation.”
Update: A few hours after this piece was published, Stutts reversed course, pulling his controversial proposal from consideration: “Senator Larry Stutts announced Tuesday he is withdrawing his maternity stay Bill. The bill would repeal a code that says insurance must cover a minimum stay of 48 hours in the hospital after a woman gives birth.”