Category Archive: Palliative care

The broader mission for hospice care

I remember it was raining outside when I told Ester she had metastatic stomach cancer.  She cried, as her son sat silently holding one thin hand in two of his.  After a while, she asked, how long did she have to live?  I explained it depended on how we…

In India’s Burgeoning Pain Market, U.S. Drugmakers Stand To Gain

What began in India as a populist movement to bring inexpensive morphine to the diseased and dying poor has paved the way for a booming pain management industry. Now, new customers are being funneled to U.S. drugmakers bedeviled by a government crackdown back home.

The last massage of his life

Clutching my duffel bag under my rain jacket, I dash from my truck toward a house that was built by Frankie, the man I’m here to give the last massage of his life. I’ve been massaging people since I was five and have been a professional mas…

Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider: spotlight physician speaker

Physician Speaking by KevinMD is the only physician-run, all-physician speakers bureau. We are practicing physicians and experienced keynote speakers, highlighting both large-scale events and intimate day-long workshops. Today’s spotlight physician spe…

Kathy Brandt, A Hospice Expert Who Invited The World Into Her Own Last Days With Cancer, Dies

Kathy Brandt and her wife, Kim Acquaviva, national experts in hospice and palliative care, shared intimate details of Brandt’s experience with terminal cancer before her death Sunday.

A critical discussion is needed about planned death

“Planned death.” When you put it like that, this can only mean one of two things: suicide or murder. For most of us in medicine, the very idea of “planned death” seems safely outside our purview. After all, the bulk of medicine is concerned with stavin…

When the train comes for you

I found you standing on a platform. It was a foggy, damp morning, and your vision was obscured. People came and went, some with urgency, others not so much. Some people you knew, others were strangers. Your husband was usually nearby, often holding you…

The Talk Seniors Need To Have With Doctors Before Surgery

Surgeons are rethinking the old notions of “informed consent.” With older patients especially, a push is on to talk candidly about what a surgery will do, its risks and how it will affect their quality of life.

What is the best way to care for a dying patient?

Every morning, after rounding on Mr. Gregory, I felt like an imposter. As I reported on the worsening crackles in his lungs, his decreasing urine output, the mottling of his hands, we continued to simply give him Dilaudid for pain and continued to ensu…

Do substituted decisions break the Golden Rule?

The way I learned the Golden Rule was: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Basically, it’s from the New Testament, but the concept goes way back to pre-Christian ancient civilizations in Babylonia, Egypt, India, and C…

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