News Headlines: Adventist Health Specifies End-of-life Policies in Response to New CA Law (and More!)

Adventist Health Specifies End-of-Life Policies in Response to New CA Law. In California, an individual with a terminal illness will have the option to seek an aid-in-dying drug as part of the End-of-Life Option Act. Adventist Health facilities will not admit someone into the hospital for the purpose of physician aid-in-dying and will not help someone administer the drugs. Gail Witzlsteiner, hospital spokeswoman for Sonora Regional Medical Center, explained that her hospital has a policy which supports the rights of terminally ill patients to make private health-related decisions with doctors in its network. What a doctor does with his/her patient is their business as long as they follow all applicable laws and procedures. From The Union Democrat, "End of life options expanded."

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I. L IivevIn a senior care facility. they offer four levels of care. I am in an independent unit. I recently returned from a rehab unit having suffered a broken tibia. Across the hall was a vegative state unit in which a friend had occupied for two years. Her husband visits daily. I see the worn worried look as. He would leave. I see no theological reason against assisting her. Death. I. Have a do not resuscitate statement in all my medical files at three local hospitals and in my apartment. I love life which includes cognitive capacity. I also understand terminal illness with Retractable pain in which death can be the only relief. As. A medic I had the duty to care for terminally wounded men. It was not pleasant duty. I still remember eyes following me around the ward sinlently asking Why? But sometimes life is worse than death.Tom Z


I am glad that Adventist Health Systems has shared this position statement. I now know I will never entrust my care to Adventist Health. Strangely, I find this position statement at odds with their desire to be involved in hospice. I hope they provide full disclosure of this position to their hospice patients and their families.


When we have an aging suffering pet, we have absolutely no compunction to euthanize them.
Why would we treat our loved ones or ourselves with less compassion?

That said, death and dying, in previous centuries/millenia was protracted and horrendous. No INTENSIVE CARE wards, no morphine drips!

Our “loving” God extracted “every ounce of flesh” in payment for naive cloistered Eve’s failure to resist the inducements of Satan whom EGW proclaimed was a “GIANT INTELLECT”. Sounds like this was an extremely one sided conflict.

Nowadays hospice care ameliorates the dying process somewhat. But billions on the planet, in shanty towns, sordid slums in third world countries, continue to experience horrific ghastly deaths.

My beloved cousin, a physician, a former Catholic nun, and a devout Catholic,
was dying of metastatic cancer. She had experienced several years of chemotherapy which left her constantly nauseated.

She chose to die by refusing fluids and food. Because she had been a marathon/ 10 K runner, her constitution was so strong, it took her ten protracted days to die. How much more humane, more compassionate, and so much more preferable for the entire family if she had been allowed a quiet,
comfortable release from agony, anxiety, and abysmal suffering!

Kudos to my Dutch heritage and the wonderful Dutch who have been the pioneers in assisted suicide.

I am happy to have a home in Oregon where if I choose, I may avail myself of this humane service, assisted death. And if I am in constant pain and discomfort, Oregon affords me relief by supplying medicinal marijuana!


It is quite simple when one is young and in good health to approach this subject with very different sentiments than for some like Tom and I, who know our end is close, and not certain of how the last days will be.

I, too, have signed the necessary papers to ensure that no futile attempts will be made for a few more, possibly excruciating days for me or my family. My daughter, a nurse practitioner, has power of attorney and knows my health better than anyone and I can rest assured that she will see that my last days will be pain-free and no useless treatments. For those who have watched their loved ones die painful and slow deaths, you wouldn’t wish that on your beloved pet. California and Oregon will be joined by other states in the future. There is no virtue in maintaining a few more days when death is certain.


Here in Canada we are in the process of passing a law re assisted end of life.One problem is that it will only apply to the mentally competent not those who are the most in need of relief from a painful meaningless existence.

Life for many is a painful experience that we had no choice in being as we are a by-product of someone else’s lust.To have the option to seek the comfort of the grave should be a basic human right.

I am sure God loves us but He does have a strange way of showing it sometimes


My mother had a brain aneurysm that popped. She was 80 and wasnt anything that could be done. So we asked that she be hydrated with IV fluids and provided pain medication.
She had been working as a LPN in a nursing home up to that time several shifts a week. We knew that she would not want to end up in a nursing home with severe disabilities.
She lived a little over 2 weeks after that.


All of this makes death seem so nice and desirable.

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Does it apply to advance directives as well? (i.e., if I know that I will lose my faculties at some point in the future, am I allowed to make such a wish known in advance?)

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Couldn’t agree more. Keeping someone alive solely because we have the tech to do so is not a reason to do so.


The final form of this law is unknown at this time as the Canadian Senate is amending what was passed by the Commons.

The original government proposal was quite restrictive did not allow prior approval nor third party applications.

Early on this was known as doctor assisted suicide but it is now called doctor assisted death.

To be sure there is little point nor compassion in extending a life of pain and suffering simply because one can However there is quite a difference in allowing death to occur naturally and actively killing an individual.

I have mixed feelings about it but in time I believe our western society will allow and maybe encourage the feeble among us to be exterminated.

The baby boomers going through the health care system will be a terrible burden unless we can find a socially acceptable way to reduce the numbers.

i do get that physician-assisted suicide is a complex issue, and that being in the position that requires making that decision is probably it’s own special domain and context…but from the standpoint of our hospitals and their policies, what is the difference between physician-assisted suicide and abortion, except that in abortion the person losing life has no say in anything…is the end of life more sacrosanct than its beginning…

gail witzlsteiner seems to be saying that a patient in her sonora hospital can arrange for assisted suicide with his dr., given that it’s legal in california now, as long as the hospital doesn’t know about it…if this is true, the stated policy of not admitting someone into the hospital for this purpose rings a bit hollow…are there no exemptions for religious convictions to the end-of-life option act…would we be run out of business if we stated and enforced a no abortion, no physician-assisted suicide, policy…

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Those so called “certain” pronouncements of terminal illnesses can are often wrong thus leading a person into despair which will certainly expedite their death. iIt has been manifested that those who were termed hopeless had much less chance of recovery as those who were given hope. After all it’s God in the business of doing what to man seams like a hopeless situation. Its’ God the God of miracles? I don not say that when a person die they didn’t have enough faith but that when a physician pronounces someone as incurable that deny the power of God to do a miracle. To mention few examples: The widows son in the Elijah story, The paralytic at the pool of Bethesda, the Blindman, many lepers Jairus’ daughter, the Centurion’ s servant, Lazarus, the officer who’s ear has be cut off at the arrest of Jesus, Peter commanding the bigger to stand up, the young man who fell from a window during Paul’s preaching…

To proclaim someone as incurable is to discourage them from God being able and willing to intervene in their lives! After we make our request to God our prayer should always end with the submission that God knows what is best for His children in the words “nevertheless, let thy will be done.”

God bless!

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End of life issues have become increasingly complex with modern technology. Even the line between active and passive euthanasia has become blurred. The solution? Ever more casuistic laws that attempt to cover every feasible option.
Living in a country where “euthanasia” has been used to kill thousands of people (read up on Action T4, if you don’t know what I am talking about) I am very reluctant towards any laws, increasing - if only by “gentle” - social pressure to fix a socially desirable sell by date (die by date).

As a hospital chaplain (and from personal pain experience) I know the “pet argument” all to well… And I also know how people feel very different once proper pain management kicks in.

And yet … … … what I am hoping for is not ethics policies (especially in the US simply rules and laws), but medical personell with a deeply held, well reflected ethos - that allows living (incidentally, I wouldn’t be alive if the doctor who treated my pregnant mother, didn’t have an ethos beyond that of her colleagues) and allows dieing.


You might want to reconsider your opinion or otherwise next time you’re treated for infectious disease, refuse your antibiotic as prescribed by your physician but hold on to your “health principles” and watch yourself get worse.


Rather than a knee-jerk no, with no explanation, I would have preferred a more thoughtful response and some reasoning. Does Adventist Health consider it unbiblical to helping a terminally ill patient find relief and peace?

About 15 years ago, I made a living trust. I didn’t specify that I wanted no heroic efforts, but I did note that I didn’t want to my life kept alive soley by drugs and machines in the event there was no hope of recovery. California’s law, like Oregon has significant safeguards to ensure that none who choose this method are doing so against their will or that it is only a temporary feeling that might pass. Seems to me that God, through his Holy Scriptures wants us to have life and have it more abundantly, but doesn’t require us to be forced to be kept alive when we couldn’t on our own. Nor, does he wish us to suffer needlessly passed the time when we would normally die, simply because we have the technology to keep the flesh alive.

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Greetings from Europe.

Since quite ten years we have -here in Austria and also in Germany - the posssbility to declare our decision to let you die in dignity. (“Partientenverfuegung”)
Let me skip the details.

But : In Germany there were informations to the believers given in the Sabbatschool lessons. Here I was addressed by a minister concerned after some experiences he had made in his ministry.

Besides this SDA material I had provided material from Gernays Protestants and the RCC. And I bothered the Minitry departmet of the Union.

SDA here : Nooo, not our matter. But we foster healthy living : Vegan adds more years to your life, so a presentation in our senior nursing home to those eighty and more !

One heavily opposing a s long as he felt “healthy” - after three bypasses - after a final cardial attac was reanimated three or four times., after the first attac never coming to consciousness again. The corpse just was kept “alive” in the hospital, the family for days in anxiety on the corridor to the the intesive care unit.

And what about Psalm 90 : 14. ?



You hit the nail on the head! This policy is hollow–deceptively so. I live in Tuolumne County and, for several months now, have been involved in efforts to convince the SRMC to fully opt-out of assisted suicide. A few months in, they provided us with their corporate policy and it was clear that it left the door wide open for doctors to participate, yet they fervently denied that this actually was the case. They continued to tell the community that they would “not participate.”

Well, now there there is no denying it. Now that they are the poster child for the pro-euthanasia Compassion and Choices because they are a “Christian” provider that has decided to lift its long-standing ban on the horrific practice:

C & C may be celebrating. But those who live in this community and will be jeopardized by this new practice are not. And we will continue to put pressure on the leadership to write a more restrictive policy that protects us in a way that is consistent with “sharing God’s love.”

I would encourage you to express yourself to the leadership of your local facility as well, as it is not too late for those in the pro-life community to make some noise!!

Thanks for your perceptiveness!


Thanks for your perceptiveness, Barbara.

Adventism has made many Faustian bargains, but snuffing out human life (at any age) is surely the last drop in this organization’s cup of iniquity.

Some poetic words:

You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death,
with the realm of the dead we have made an agreement.

When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by,
it cannot touch us,
for we have made a lie our refuge
and falsehood our hiding place.”

So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who relies on it
will never be stricken with panic.

I will make justice the measuring line
and righteousness the plumb line;
hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie,
and water will overflow your hiding place.

Your covenant with death will be annulled;
your agreement with the realm of the dead will not stand.

When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by,
you will be beaten down by it.

As often as it comes it will carry you away;
morning after morning, by day and by night,
it will sweep through.”

The understanding of this message
will bring sheer terror.

The bed is too short to stretch out on,
the blanket too narrow to wrap around you.

What can be said but, God, have mercy?

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While Adventists may say “NO” to this new law, individuals are still free to choose, which they should always be. Hospice Care can be in the home with only MD’s and nurses visiting. Palliative care for pain when adjusted to the patient’s needs often smooths them to sleep, which may be the final one. We care for our pets when they are in pain and dying, why should we give less for our loved ones.

My wishes are well known to my family and will be carried out as I have directed. If you wish your life to be sustained at all cost, often most to your family), you are free to do so. But never, never, take away other individuals’ rights to choose. God has never directed us to choose for others and values our individuality. We should do no less.

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