Category Archive: Palliative care

The medicine that defines hospice care

An excerpt from Death Is But a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at Life’s End. Published on February 11, 2020 by Avery, and imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2020 by William Hudson, LLC Dying…

I had to be there for this patient’s last breath

It’s the winter of 1993. A cold, snowy day. Windy. A blizzard. The phone rings. I’m not on call for my patients today — except for one. Daisy has been in my care since the early 1970s, and given the risk that she may suffer a serious downtu…

I had to be there for this patient’s last breath

It’s the winter of 1993. A cold, snowy day. Windy. A blizzard. The phone rings. I’m not on call for my patients today — except for one. Daisy has been in my care since the early 1970s, and given the risk that she may suffer a serious downtu…

Data mining, artificial intelligence, and angels of death

Google is universally well known as a search and advertising company. Now Google is tapping into the $3.5 trillion health care market. To compete with the Apple Watch, Google acquired Fitbit, the wearable exercise, heart rate and sleep tracking device….

Physician-assisted suicide is a collaborative process

Who remembers Jack Kevorkian, Doctor Death? He was found guilty in 1998 of second-degree murder. Still, it was because of his advocacy that the terminally ill patient’s right to die by physician-assisted suicide was propelled into the public aren…

How race plays a role in palliative care

“Black life remains unexpected.” I have been mulling over these words written by Ibram X. Kendi, in The Atlantic. This followed his piece exploring the “anniversary” of slavery in 2019. He experiences this 400-year marker both with hope and concern giv…

Letting go when people let go of their lives

My 83-year-old patient had outlived peoples’ expectations on several occasions. Faced with a critical illness three years ago, she underwent emergency surgery and spent several months in the hospital with a series of complications, including sept…

Over 2,000 prayers for the dead. This was my hardest.

The day began in Mom’s room with a 10:00 a.m. conference at Upper Valley Medical Center, west of Columbus, Ohio. In attendance were my 93-year-old mother Joanne (now in her third week of hospitalization), her palliative-care nurse Richard, her Ep…

Avoiding late-stage dementia with advance directives for stopping eating and drinking

On October 1, 2019, Nevada began allowing individuals to avoid living in late-stage dementia. The new statute recognizes the legitimacy of an advance directive that instructs health care providers to stop hand feeding food and fluid by mouth. Individua…

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…

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