St. Mary’s Hospital requires physicians to practice under Catholic directive

Essentia Health confirmed allegations from former psychologist, Dr. William van Druten, that all physicians who want privileges to practice at St. Mary’s Hospital must sign an authorization and release form. The authorization and release form is set by the Ethical and Religious Directive for Catholic Health Care Services, which is agreed upon at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The most recent version of the 43-page Ethical and Religious Directive was put into effect in November of 2009.

Van Druten, a lifelong atheist, was let go following the 1997 integration of St. Mary’s Hospital and the Duluth Clinic, who he had previously worked for. Van Druten signed the release form with the addendum, “For consenting Catholics only.”

“If one doesn’t sign, he or she can not be a member of the hospital's medical staff,” Connie Wirta said, speaking on behalf of Essentia Health.


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