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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 6, 2013 at 7:04 AM

Catholic health care systems in state hospitals

PeaceHealth does not prohibit end-of-life care

As medical director of the PeaceHealth hospice program in Bellingham, I was dismayed by your editorial statement that PeaceHealth “prohibits end-of-life services.” PeaceHealth has long been a leader in supporting patients at the end of life; this is central to our mission and values [“Editorial: Give PeaceHealth-UW partnership a chance,” Opinion, May 28].

While it is true that we do not support the Death With Dignity Act, we honor advance directives and care for all dying patients with skill and compassion.

Of the 70 patients in our state who died after ingesting medication in 2011, 86 percent were enrolled in hospice programs, some of which were ours.

Last year, we provided 48,196 days of service to hospice patients in our community and consulted with 624 patients through our palliative-care program.

In 2011, the Whatcom Hospice Foundation completed a $6 million inpatient facility. To date, we have served 647 patients in our Hospice House.

PeaceHealth’s commitment to compassionate care of the dying is manifested daily in our ICU, emergency department, skilled nursing facilities, and patient homes. It is our calling, and we are proud of the Catholic heritage that informs and inspires it.

Margaret Jacobson, medical director, Whatcom Hospice, Bellingham

 

Comments | More in Health care | Topics: Catholic, Death with Dignity, end-of-life

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