by Steven Ertelt
May 10, 2006
Norfolk, England (LifeNews.com) — A British hospital that is refusing to provide medical treatment to a pro-life advocate is defending its decision because he kept sending the hospital graphic abortion pictures. Meanwhile, a member of Parliament says if the man apologies the hospital may reconsider its decision.
Edward Atkinson, who is 74, was recently jailed for two weeks for repeatedly sending graphic abortion pictures to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and some of its staff.
QEH responded by taking Atkinson off a waiting list for a hip surgery and banned him from receiving any medical treatment other than care for something life-threatening.
QEH chief executive Ruth May defended the decision in an interview with Lynn News.
"Our legal advisers were consulted and their opinion was that this man’s actions contravened the NHS Zero Tolerance policy in cases of abuse or unacceptable behavior towards our staff," she said.
"We take such matters extremely seriously and because he continued to send extremely graphic material to us we exercised our right to decline treatment to him for anything other than life-threatening conditions," she added.
North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham, who is pro-life, is intervening in the case and hoping to get Atkinson to apologize for his actions, saying that could appease the hospital and motivate it to reverse its decision.
"I think the sensible way forward would be for Atkinson to apologize to the hospital and I think then the hospital may be happy to withdraw their decision," he said.
Bellingham, who said he sees himself as "an arbiter" in the situation, said the hospital still needs to "explain what has happened very clearly because obviously withdrawing treatment is a very serious thing."
He indicated he thinks Atkinson’s actions towards the hospital have damaged the pro-life cause in the UK.
Pro-life groups have criticized the hospital and James Dowson, national coordinator of the UK Life League, said the hospital’s action was "hypocritical." He is trying to meet with QEH officials to get them to reverse their decision.
Dowson also says Atkinson deserves appropriate medical treatment.
"He is an old man and he walks with a frame. This is appalling," Dowson told Lynn News. "He has been to the court and had his punishment, it is not for the hospital to punish him again. Ted was a taxpayer and was in the Army for this country, it is our NHS."
Atkinson will be released from jail later this week and must submit to a probation period of five years, under which he cannot mail the hospital.