Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Olympic medical center won't be complicit with assisted suicide law

Now that assisted suicide is legal in Washington State, several hospitals that are operated by religious groups have stated that they will not allow assisted suicide in their hospital.

Recently a few publicly operated hospitals have also decided to opt-out of the assisted suicide law, meaning that they will not participate in intentionally causing the death of their patients.

This is occuring because most physicians, including the Washington State Medical Association oppose assisted suicide as well as many of the public who depend on medical treatment at the hospital want to be sure that they can trust that their life will be respected.

The story stated:
By a four to two vote, Olympic Medical Center Commissioners opted out of participating in the state's new "Death with Dignity" law.

A huge crowd turned out for the meeting last night at Linkletter Auditorium at the hospital.

The initiative won voter approval last November. Clallam County voters voted 61 percent in favor. But the measure allows hospitals and physicians to choose whether or not they want to take part in assisting terminally-ill patients with drugs to end their lives.

OMC's Ethics Advisory Committee presented a short summary of the measure, and recommended approval by the hospital board.

In a public comment period, several people, including physicians, nurses, former patients and concerned citizens expressed their views, which were primarily against OMC adopting the law.

The general tone was that a hospital should focus on life, not death, and most hospital personnel would have a hard time going the other way. ...

One of the safeguards of the measure is that a person must have 6-months or less to live, to qualify for the service. The question arose: How do you know that 6-month figure is accurate? There were accounts of people living much longer than their 6-month prognosis. And a recurring theme was that most people afflicted with a terminal illness wanted good medical service, and better end-of-life care.

In the end, the board of commissioners split evenly, Chairman Jim Leskinovich cast the deciding vote against the measure.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition hopes that more hospitals will opt out of taking part in the assisted suicide law and we hope that the hospitals that have opted out will maintain that policy.

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