Dear _____________ :
I am writing to thank you for Southwest Washington Medical Center’s tradition of excellent care for the sick and suffering in our community. It is a tradition I hope you will continue to honor and support in the years to come, as the people who live here have placed their trust in your corporate role as caregiver.
It is in regard to this trust in Southwest’s continued excellent care that I am writing. The passage of Initiative 1000, which legalized physician-assisted suicide in Washington state, undermines this trust. It leaves people frightened and doubtful about whether or not they will continue to receive good care in a medical environment that allows the intentional ending of life.
I recently read that the American Medical Association, as well as 49 of its state chapters, has declared that it does not support the practice of physician-assisted suicide. The Washington State Medical Association announced in July of this year that physician-assisted suicide is “fundamentally incompatible with the role of physicians as healers.” I believe, along with the WSMA, that physician-assisted suicide contradicts the very mission of healthcare, and it endangers vulnerable patients who deserve care and comfort throughout their illness.
In Oregon, many institutions have adopted policies that do not allow employed physicians to write lethal prescriptions, pharmacies to dispense lethal prescriptions, or lethal prescriptions to be administered on institutional premises. The conscience clause of I-1000 makes clear that health care providers may opt out of participating in assisted suicide. In addition, health care facilities may prohibit health care providers from participating on their premises by following the law’s simple procedures. (See Section 19 of I-1000.) I urge Southwest Washington Medical Center to refuse to allow assisted suicide and to continue to offer excellent treatment, care, and comfort to people who are terminally ill and dying.
If Southwest continues its life-affirming and comfort-enhancing mission by not participating in assisted suicide, I will surely continue to support and patronize your facility and encourage family and friends to do likewise. I know that my family, friends, and many members of our community will join me in supporting health care providers we can trust with our lives.
I look forward to hearing that Southwest Washington Medical Center will not allow the practice of physician-assisted suicide on its premises or by its employees. Please contact me to notify me of your decision. My contact information is as follows: _______________________. Thank you for your consideration in this all-important matter.