I had hoped that since Peace Island Medical Center was finished, the debate over the benefit to the community was finished. However, since concerns over faith-based healthcare and public hospital districts have stirred with the current election, I wanted to provide an alternate perspective as someone who works within PeaceHealth.
I believe the concerns expressed previously over what services can be provided, while valid, are unfounded in actual practice. As an OB/GYN, I have never had a hospital ethics committee tell me what I could or could not do for my patient. PeaceHealth makes its policy of staying out of my exam rooms its practice, regardless of if I’m discussing fertility, family planning, or any other subject.
I routinely see patients for all of these concerns without worrying about what someone else might think, and only about what will provide excellent medical care.
I think it’s easy to lose perspective when focusing on what PeaceHealth does not provide. Prior to building Peace Island Medical Center, there was no 24-hour emergency department, no cancer care or other specialist services available on San Juan Island. PeaceHealth may not provide abortion services, but those services weren’t available to begin with.
What we have done is significantly expand services. Without the investments from PeaceHealth, there wouldn’t be a hospital on San Juan Island. I’m proud to be part of an organization that’s committed to providing excellent, evidence-based care to communities that wouldn’t have had it otherwise.
Chad Thomas, MD, PhD, FACOG
Obstetrics and Gynecology
PeaceHealth Medical Group, Bellingham, WA