The author describes his imaginary interview with William Shakespeare on palliative care. Before he died just a bit over 400 years ago, William Shakespeare had written almost 120,000 lines and about 900,000 words. His 37 plays and 154 sonnets led to his reputation as the unrivaled wordsmith of the English…
At the heart of underusing palliative care is that no person wants to inflict sadness on another. Among the synonyms for the adjective ‘brutal’ are cruel, barbarous, callous, heartless, ruthless, and merciless. No one, especially not physicians who are dedicating their lives to relieving sufferings of others, would countenance having…
She had chosen palliative care as the medical therapy. EDITOR’S NOTE: Former First Lady Barbara Bush died Tuesday at age 92 at her home in Houston, having decided to decline further medical treatment for health problems and instead to focus on “comfort care.” The ‘Great Man Theory’ of history was…
A look back on the difficult end to a cherished friend’s life. “Larry only has a couple of weeks to live,” read the Facebook message from the wife of one of my oldest living friends. “He wants to talk to you.” I first met Larry in second grade. We became…
Palliative care is medical care just as are other medical specialties.  I was in the midst of a perfectly comfortable morning, my computer was working, my coffee was hot, and my desk was uncluttered. My brain was quietly marinating in caffeine one minute and then suddenly it was discomforted because…
For some, palliative care could be the greatest gift during the holiday season. Most people are familiar with the 1946 classic Christmas movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ which is a wonderful movie that has won acclaim, Oscars, and hearts. For 51 years the film has dramatized the story of a…
Alzheimer’s remains an incurable, fatal disease suffered by more than 5.5 million people. On Nov. 2, 1901 Karl Deter brought his 51-year wife, Auguste, to a mental institution called “Irrenchloss” (Castle of the Insane) in Frankfurt, Germany. She was suffering from delusions, memory loss, and insomnia, and would scream for…
Many of the world’s population need better pain relief, and better palliative care. On Oct. 19, 2017, The Lancet published its Commission’s report on the international lack of palliative care and pain relief. It is a 64-page tale documenting the woeful state of unrelieved global suffering. Everywhere on earth, The…
Case managers and physicians approach palliative care from different perspectives. There are many staffing models for case managers. A number of years ago, the trend leaned toward combining the activities of discharge planning and utilization instead of employing two individuals to look at the same chart. Recently, the pendulum appears…
Healthcare professionals are urged to assess the palliative care program at their respective hospitals.  Today I want to talk about death, but not about how to bill it or code it. Instead of that, today I want to talk about the care we provide patients as they approach death. And…