Medical leaders at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena voted behind closed doors this week for the facility’s hundreds of doctors and affiliated personnel to opt out of California’s assisted suicide law, which goes into effect June 9.
If the proposed amendment to the hospital’s medical rules is approved by the board of directors this month, Huntington will become one of the largest non-religious medical institutions statewide to turn its back on a law that Gov. Jerry Brown called “a comfort” to anyone “dying in prolonged and excruciating pain.”
The End of Life Option Act allows doctors, medical groups and hospitals to opt out of the law’s guidelines for assisting the terminally ill achieve a dignified end. Most, if not all, religious hospitals are expected to reject the law.
It’s unclear at this point if Huntington is an outlier among secular facilities or representative of a wave of opt-outs to be revealed by month’s end. The California Hospital Assn. was unable to provide an estimate for the number of institutions considering a similar move.
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