Death with Dignity

Because of the way this issue has been presented in the election, would it surprise you to know:

  • Peace Health is not out of compliance with Washington State law regarding this Act
  • Death with Dignity was not performed at Inter-Island Medical Center
  • The IIMC physicians decided on their own not to participate in this Act, long before Peace Health came on the scene.
  • The law does not require hospitals or physicians to participate in Death with Dignity (e.g Overlake Hospital, a non-religious hospital in Bellevue, WA does not participate )
  • Death with Dignity only very, very rarely occurs in a hospital setting
  • Placing the burden of Death with Dignity on Peace Health is completely unnecessary and cannot be justified.  a) They have a right to their conscience and B) the Hospital District can find other avenues to Death with Dignity for patients. That is more their role as a PHD. For example, does San Juan Health Care offer this or our local Hospice?
  • Currently, Peace Health would refer patients interested in DWD to the Washington Sate Hospital Association or the Washington Department of Health.
  • If the Hospital District was to present our community with a resource like the Healthcare Ombudsman Jenny Ledford has proposed, it would provide a local advocate entity to which Peace Health could refer patients.
  • Peace Health encourages patients to have Advanced Directives with the intention to honor them, as long they do not contradict with hospital ethics.
  • “Robb Miller, Executive Director of Compassion and Choices, who has worked with PeaceHealth on implementation of the the Death with Dignity initiative, relaxed a little of the tension in the room by saying that he’s worked very well with PeaceHealth. ‘Much better than with other Catholic Hospitals in Seattle,’ Miller said, adding, ‘I want to say that Peace Health has always kept its end of any bargain. Our negotiations about information and referrals have always been honorable and honest.”

PeaceHealthIsland End of Life Statements

3 thoughts on “Death with Dignity

  1. PeaceHealth physicians also provide patients who want information about death with dignity with the Whatcom County website The home page has a prominent tab for End of Life Care and from there patients can gain access to all the information they need. They can find out if their doctor participates (most don’t, see below), link to Compassion and Choices, learn about the many end of life care options, etc. The point is, can people in our community access the information they need? The answer is yes.

    To put this in perspective, the Death with Dignity law makes it legal for a physician to participate in ending someone’s life, but it does not require them to participate. In 2014 out of 15,421 physicians in the State of Washington providing direct patient care only 109 physicians participated according to the DOH report at
    That means that 99% of practicing physicians in our state are NOT participating regardless of what healthcare organization might employ them.


  2. So you would say, then, that what is right is simply determined by a majority vote? So the more people who act in a particular way, or believe a particular thing, that act and that belief are therefore correct and right and true? That’s an interesting, and certainly non-Christian point-of-view.


    1. IntestinalIQ, I am not sure of the basis for your comment. The facts laid out in this section are meant to give context to the conversation around Death with Dignity. This author believes it has been used purposefully to incite emotionalism voters. The impression has been given that we, meaning our PHD and/or Peace Health, are not in compliance with the law regarding this Act and that this is due to religious affiliation. The facts show, however, that this is a false conclusion. As stated, the physicians at IIMC opted out of participating in Death with Dignity long before Peace Health was on the scene. The Act makes it lawful for a physician to participate, but does not require that a physician participate. Approximately 99% of the physicians in Washington state choose not to participate in Death with Dignity – “religious” and secular alike. Our PHD may choose to create a simplified path for members of our community to gain access to information and assistance in Death with Dignity, but it is not required nor incumbent on PIMC to provide it.


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