During a Special Board meeting today, the Board of Directors of the Lompoc Valley Medical Center voted unanimously to opt-out of the California End of Life Option Act.
The law allows California doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients requesting the drugs to end their lives. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law last year, and June 9 is the implementation date that allows doctors to write the lethal dose prescription legally.
The process is multi-layered and takes several weeks or longer for the patient to complete.
The law allows hospitals, doctors and medical groups to “opt out” of the law’s requirements.
The medical staff of LVMC had previously voted in a majority vote to recommend to the board that the hospital not participate in the act allowing physician assisted death.
The board’s decision Tuesday encompasses all Lompoc Valley Medical Center facilities and programs.
“There are obviously strong feelings on both sides of this issue and I think one of the things the board wanted to do was make sure we were in concert with the medical staff majority and what they wanted to do, without infringing upon the rights of those physicians who may feel that it’s appropriate in some point in time to deal with a patient of their own, with that patient’s desires,” said Board President Raymond Down. “As long as it’s clear they can’t do it here at the hospital or any of our facilities, I think they should have the right to do whatever is legally their option with their patients.”
The policy is limited to assisted death, physician-assisted death or self-administered life-ending medication and does not apply to the many end-of-life care services LVMC provides,” the policy states.
Nothing in the policy prevents a physician or provider from providing information about the act to a patient when the patient requests information or referring the patient to another physician to do so.
“LVMC caregivers will still provide all other requested end-of-life and palliative care and other services to patients and families,” the policy states.
The policy applies to all LVMC medical staff, employees and volunteers, including all physicians and other professional health care providers while caring for LVMC patients, within all facilities that are owned or operated by LVMC.