FAQ - Swedish reproductive and end-of-life care

April 9, 2014 Swedish News


In this article:

  • Swedish is not a religious organization.

  • Swedish patients can always discuss any procedure or need with their provider.

  • Patients may be referred to other facilities for elective abortions or life-ending prescriptions based on clinical best practice.

Swedish often receives questions about its policies related to reproductive health and end-of-life care. Please see below for a list of frequently asked questions. If you are a member of the media working on a story with additional questions, please contact Swedish’s media relations team at (206) 998-5028.

Is Swedish a Catholic hospital?

No. Swedish is a secular (non-faith-based) organization. Swedish affiliated with Providence Health & Services in 2012 to improve the health and well-being of our communities and increase access to care.

Does Swedish follow the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services?

No. The affiliation agreement states that Swedish is a non-faith-based health care institution and is not required to follow the ERDs.

Does Swedish perform elective abortions?

No. Following clinical best practice, Swedish believes elective abortions are best performed in an outpatient setting. Swedish clinicians are able to refer to these providers/outpatient settings.

What happens to Swedish patients seeking an elective abortion?

Swedish physicians can refer patients seeking an elective abortion to an appropriate, outpatient provider. Our clinicians will always apply their best judgment to ensure patient safety.

Can Swedish physicians discuss abortion with their patients?

Yes. There are no limitations on what a clinician can discuss with a patient.

Will Swedish terminate a pregnancy if the health or life of the mother is at risk?

Yes. When necessary, on an emergency basis, termination of pregnancy procedures may be performed at Swedish facilities. Swedish clinicians exercise their own best medical judgment to ensure safe, quality care for each patient.

Does Swedish provide birth control services such as tubal ligations and vasectomies?

Yes. Swedish offers a full range of birth control services, including tubal ligations and vasectomies.

Where can I learn more about your reproductive care policies?

On our website at www.swedish.org/about/overview/policies.

Patients can also talk with their provider.

What is Swedish’s stance on the Death with Dignity Act?

Prior to the affiliation with Providence in 2012, Swedish independently chose in 2009 to not provide life-ending medications to patients or permit patients to take such medications while at Swedish. This decision is in full compliance with Washington’s Death with Dignity Act.

What about patients who have advance directives and living wills?

Swedish continues to fully respect and follow the wishes that patients indicate in their advance directives and living wills.

Can patients self-administer life-ending prescriptions — under Washington’s Initiative-1000 (the Death with Dignity Act) —at Swedish facilities?

No. Swedish believes that its acute care hospitals are not the appropriate setting for patients taking life-ending medications.

Do Swedish pharmacies fill prescriptions for life-ending medications?

No. The primary purpose of the Swedish pharmacies is to provide services to inpatients. Swedish will assist patients in identifying other community pharmacies willing to participate in dispensing medications under Washington’s Death with Dignity Act.

Can Swedish physicians participate in helping patients secure life-ending medications?

Physicians, including physicians working in Swedish clinics and other facilities, will need to make an individual decision to participate or not participate under Washington’s Death with Dignity Act, either as an attending physician or a consulting physician, as those terms are defined in the law.

Where can I learn more about your end-of-life care policies?

On our website at http://www.swedish.org/about/overview/policies.

Find a doctor

If you have questions about reproductive health or end of life care, contact the primary care department at Swedish. We can accommodate both in-person and virtual visits.

Whether you require an in-person visit or want to consult a doctor virtually, you have options. Swedish Virtual Care connects you face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow up as needed. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory.

Join our Patient and Family Advisory Council.

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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