January 27, 2017: Adventist hospitals in Colorado will opt out of the state’s medical aid-in-dying law. The legislation allows terminally ill Coloradans to end their life by taking life-ending prescriptions from their doctors.
The Adventists hospitals are part of Centura Health, a non-profit, faith-based health care system. It is run as a joint operation of Catholic Health Initiatives and Adventist Health Systems.
“Centura Health has a long tradition of believing in the sanctity of life, extending compassionate care and relieving suffering,” said a statement from the health care system on its website.
It also added that as “permitted by the statute, Centura Health has opted out of participating in the Colorado End-of-Life Options Act.”
The Denver Post reported on January 26 that up to 30 hospitals from various health care systems have also opted out of participation in the controversial law.
The Adventist hospitals run by Centura include Avista Adventist Hospital, Castle Rock Adventist Hospital, Littleton Adventist Hospital, Parker Adventist Hospital, and Porter Adventist Hospital.
Centura would not answer questions about whether the system’s decision would prohibit Centura-employed doctors from prescribing life-ending drugs on or off the hospital premises.
The ambiguity reflects a variety of stances by hospitals that have decided to opt out of participating in the law. Some ban doctors outright from writing life-ending prescriptions.
Other systems like HealthOne allow doctors to discuss end-of-life options with patients and write out life-ending prescriptions.
HealthOne’s pharmacies will, however, not fill a life-ending prescription and patients are not allowed to take their lives on hospital premises.