A Colorado doctor who sued Centura Health, a Catholic and Seventh-day Adventist network of hospitals, for the right to dispense aid-in-dying medication was fired last week for violating a provision of her employment that prohibited her from encouraging assisted suicide or euthanasia.

On August 21, 2019 Dr. Barbara Morris and one of her patients, Corneilius "Neil" Mahoney, a 64-year-old with stage four cancer filed a lawsuit requesting that the court declare "that Centura may not lawfully prohibit Dr. Morris from, or sanction nor penalize Dr. Morris for, providing [medical aid-in-dying] services to Neil [Mahoney], including but not limited to, prescribing AID medication to Neil for use somewhere other than at a Centura Facility."

Even though Colorado passed the "Access to Medical Aid In Dying" act in 2017, many hospitals and clinics have refused to allow physicians to perform the procedures on moral and faith-based grounds.

All physicians employed by Centura are required to sign an agreement that they "would not provide any services 'that are in violation of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.' As a matter of religious doctrine, those Directives declare that suicide and euthanasia are never morally acceptable options and prohibit participation or cooperation in any intentional hastening of a person's natural death, including through 'an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil.'"

Centura filed documents on Friday, August 30, asking that the initial case be removed from state to federal court, and that the courts recognize that Centura Health's right to practice its faith includes the right not to participate in assisted suicide.

By encouraging her patient to commit suicide, "Dr. Morris has, within her employment, encouraged an option she knew was morally unacceptable to her employer" and this "warranted the termination of her employment."

This is one of the first cases to test the ability of religious hospitals to require their employees to refuse to participate in physician-assisted suicide.





  1. All is not well where covert Oregon model death laws exist. Consider that Yes 60% favor the concept but 95% reject legalizing euthanasia after they learn the extent of wrongful deaths allowed.
    Potential for abuse abounds with laws allowing euthanasia.
    There are many documented cases of abuses in the Oregon model death laws. The problem cases only come to light through media and medical or legal journals, but many are in documents on the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund website.
    There is no oversight or assurance provided by the Oregon model death policy that can prevent wrongful deaths due to: 
    1. A wrong diagnosis.
    2. A wrong prognosis.
    3. When unaware of available treatments.
    4. When there is no access to pain management.
    5. When denied funding for medical treatment.
    6.When the mentally ill are at risk (a huge possibility).
    7. When there is ableist judgement of "better off dead" which is a prevalent medical and social bias.
    8. When there is undetected bullying or coercion.
    9. When there is a killing after changing their mind or while resisting. This is likely in 20 percent of assisted suicides, according to an extrapolation from Oregon statistics.
    10. When the social contagion of suicide is involved (likely in 5-12 percent of cases, as per the Centers for Disease Control). 
    11. When the death is not a rapid or peaceful death (likely 25-72 percent of the the time according to a study by Bill Gallerizzo).
    Expect expansion of categories due to "category creep" in this climate of promiscuous medical standards.
    Care Giver

  2. Kevin James says:

    When hospital systems are bought up by the Catholics and/or the Adventists leaving no to very little alternatives, this is going to become a norm for litigation going forward. It is becoming increasingly problematic for many patients who want certain procedures, done but are unable to have done, due to the only hospital within a 100 miles or more is of a faith based organization.

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