Dr. Larry Stutts became a freshman Republican state senator after defeating the state’s most powerful remaining Democrat, Roger Bedford, by fewer than 70 votes last year. One of his first legislative priorities has been SB289, a bill that would repeal the state’s guarantee of a 48-hour hospitalization period for women who give birth as well as a separate law which requires doctors to clearly inform women if dense breast tissue puts them at high risk for undetected cancer.
According to Stutts, his bill overturns “one-size-fits-all Obamacare-style laws” which he believes are a greater danger to the women of Alabama than maternity death or breast cancer.
But this is not just a case of simple ‘Obama Derangement Syndrome.’ In a clear conflict of interest, Stutts is trying to repeal a law that is named for a patient who died under his care seventeen years ago, resulting in a huge malpractice suit which he was forced to settle out of court. Alabama political journalist Bill Britt tells this part of the story:
Rose Church, a 36-year-old registered nurse from Haleyville, gave birth to a healthy baby girl on December 1, 1998. After 36 hours she was released from the hospital only to return around 36 hours later due to sessile bleeding that required four units of blood. She was again discharged only to die approximately 36 hours later of a heart attack, according to the report. Her autopsy revealed that Church had placental tissue still inside her womb, 11 days after she delivered her daughter Logan Rose.
Stutts was her OB/GYN and was named in the wrongful death suit filed by her husband Gene Church. The suit states, among other things, that Rose Church was released from the hospital despite the fact that she “was suffering from placenta accreta and continued to display persistent tachycardia.”
Her husband told the Tuscaloosa News in 1999, “If the legislation had been law last year my wife would have stayed in the hospital for 48 hours and the blood test would have shown she was having problems before she was discharged.”
According to the Tuscaloosa News, Church brought his daughter to the State House every day to lobby on behalf of the bill that might have saved his wife’s life. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Mike Millican from Hamilton, but it was the motherless, “red-haired blue-eyed little girl,” that Church pushed in a stroller everyday through the State House that drove home the importance of “Rose’s Law” as it was known.
At AL.com, Kyle Whitmire points out that Stutts is the only person in the whole state of Alabama who seems at all concerned about these “Obamacare-style laws” that were passed nine years before Obama was president.
Keep in mind that no one else, except for Stutts’ six cosponsors for the bill, seem to be against this. Healthcare providers have told other media outlets that they are fine with the law as it is, and the lobbyists to represent the healthcare industry have not taken a position on the legislation.
Although Stutts has pulled his bill due to the negative attention it created, it’s not hard to see why Dr. Stutts thought he could get away with this. Nowadays, it is possible to get elected to important public offices in Alabama with zero applicable experience for the job, or with agendas that present clear conflicts of interest, simply by having an (R) next to your name. Larry Stutts is exactly the kind of government Alabama deserves right now.
Below: Bill Britt discusses SB289 with guests during the first six minutes of his show.