When Dr. William Toffler opened the doors of his new medical clinic on September 8, 2020, he wasn’t just giving the town of West Linn a new healthcare option. Instead, he was opening the doors to a new portion of his career: that of running a clinic built entirely on the foundations of Catholic faith.
“What we are providing here at Holy Family Catholic Clinic is unique, because there is no other openly-Catholic clinic that adheres to Catholic directives in Oregon,” Toffler says. “It’s not just a religion thing; it’s a better-care thing.”
Better healthcare is something Toffler has long been passionate about. As a professor emeritus of family medicine at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) — a position he held for 34 years — Toffler has worked the spectrum from delivering babies to palliative care. Previously, the father of seven performed vasectomies, inserted intrauterine devices, prescribed birth control pills and even reluctantly participated in a second-trimester abortion. He wasn’t very different from most Pacific Northwest doctors of the time, he says.
But Toffler’s childhood faith gradually grew stronger, and after attending a Catholic conference in the 1990s in Portland, he could no longer in good conscience do things like prescribe birth control or refer for abortions. His career still flourished. That is, until OHSU put him on leave in 2019 after complaints about his views on contraception and sex-change operations were made known. They then let his contract expire.
The job loss paved the way for Toffler to link arms with four other medical practitioners and start their own holistic practice, Holy Family Catholic Clinic located on Willamette Drive in West Linn. All five doctors are staunchly Catholic, but they see people of all or no faiths.
“We love our patients, whether they’re Catholic, Mormon, atheists or antagonistic to faith, anything,” Toffler says. “They come to us not necessarily because of our beliefs, but because we provide excellent care.”
That care is often unique and hard to find elsewhere, including NaProTECHNOLOGY™ (used to treat women’s health issues), natural family planning and abortion pill reversal (used halfway through a medication abortion to save the child’s life). Workdays begin and end with staff prayer, and Toffler’s team often prays with willing patients.
“This is a wonderful part of our clinic, being able to fully practice our faith and practicing consistently with our ethical directives,” Toffler says. “People come to us because of that.” Indeed, Holy Family’s physicians treat everyone from pediatric patients to those needing geriatric care. Some of Holy Family’s current 125 clients come from as far as five hours away.
Toffler and his team hope to open a satellite clinic in the Corvallis area this winter. “A patient just asked me when I’m coming out to Pacific City!” Toffler says. “It might be pie-in-the-sky, but we envision having Catholic clinics in multiple spots around Oregon.”
The hard work to get to this point is worth it when he can openly pray with his co-workers in the lobby. “We have the opportunity to professionally live out our faith and not park it at the door,” he says.
Dr. Arnoldo Padilla, a colleague of Toffler’s in Lane County, calls Toffler a great role model. “In these times, when we are experiencing the incessant pressure of the culture of death, his example of courage and perseverance is an inspiration for all of us,” Padilla says. “The Holy Family Clinic is an answer to prayer for those seeking medical care focused on respecting the sanctity of life, from conception to end-of-life matters.”
For more information on Holy Family Catholic Clinic, visit holyfamilyclinic.com or call 503-994-4353.