As a physician who has practiced in Catholic and non-religiously affiliated hospitals for over 30 years, I saw exactly the same type of care being delivered at both types of institutions.
I also observed that Catholic hospitals are willing to treat all individuals, including the most vulnerable and those without the ability to pay.
It is true that Catholic hospitals do not provide abortion. Many other non-religious hospitals do not provide it either; only 4 percent of abortions are performed in hospitals.
Advance directives are honored at Catholic hospitals. Physician-assisted suicide, which is not an option under the advance directive, is not offered. However no such suicides have been performed in any hospital in Washington over the past three years.
In communities where the sole hospital provider is a Catholic hospital, you are likely to find the same range of services that would be available if the hospital were not Catholic. It is community size, not religious orientation that is the primary determinant of services available.
We need to focus not on just a few procedures, but to work together to make sure that our communities have the broadest possible range of safe, high quality and needed services.
Dr. Roland Trenouth / Bellingham
— Editor’s note: A retired cardiologist, Dr. Trenouth in a member of PeaceHealth Northwest Network governing board.