2 Wash. State hospitals reject physician-assisted suicide

OLYMPIA — Providence St. Peter Hospital and Capital Medical Center officials said Thursday that the hospitals will not participate in physician-assisted suicide under the state's new Death with Dignity law, but instead will refer terminally ill patients to their primary doctors.

Providence Health & Services spokeswoman Karina Jennings said Thursday that the same standard applies for all of its medical facilities and nursing homes in Washington and Oregon. The key reason: Providence is a Catholic health care organization, and physician-assisted suicide is “not a path conducive to our values,” she said.

“We don’t believe that health care providers should be put in the position of taking someone’s life,” Jennings said.

Providence St. Peter Hospital community board member Dr. Dennis Peck declined to comment Thursday, deferring to Jennings for official comment.

Washington residents voted to approve Initiative 1000 in November; it took effect March 4. Oregon has had a similar Death with Dignity law for about 10 years.

Providence hospitals are notifying patients through the Vital Signs newsletter and through paperwork filled out at the time of admission, Jennings said.

Read the complete story at