hospice

To Be Human can be Really Hard

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Last week I wrote about the Massachusetts Medical Society’s plans to survey their members, part of which involved a debate over the terms medical aid in dying” vs. “physician-assisted suicide.” As part of that discussion, one Massachusetts physician emphasized the need to highlight the growth and development of the field of palliative care in any […]

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This Week in Bioethics

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1. Can We? Should We? Our Christopher White this week highlighted two ways in which President George W. Bush’s decision — now 15 years ago — to limit federal funding for embryo destructive stem cell research has been vindicated. First, non-embryonic (aka adult) stem cells have proven to be much more powerful and useful that […]

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End of “Abandon All Hope” Hospice Model?

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When I was researching my book on bioethics, Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America, the late Dame Cecily Saunders honored me with a 30 minute interview at her St.Christopher’s Hospice. For those who may not know, Dame Cecily–the creator of the modern hospice movement–was one of the most important medical humanitarians […]

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Who Cares What Great Palliative Docs Think?

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The greatest palliative care physicians of our era are (or were) against assisted suicide. Dame Cecily Saunders–one of the great medical humanitarians in history for creating the modern hospice movement–told me that she saw assisted suicide as, by definition, denying the dignity of dying patients. Dr. Kathleen Foley, perhaps the most respected practicing palliative care physician […]

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NPR Audience Wants End of Life Care Rationed for the Elderly

Recently, NPR held a debate (PDF) on rationing end of life care, with utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer and an ER doctor named Arthur Kellerman arguing yes, and Christian lawyer Ken Connor and the head of Pacific Research Institute Sally Pipes, arguing no. First, note the stacked question to be debated: Yes or no to this […]

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UK Elderly Shuffled Off This Mortal Coil?

New York Times former editor and current columnist, Bill Keller, recently extolled the NHS’ Livermore Care Pathway in a column entitled, “How to Die.” He complimented the method of his father-in-law’s death in the UK, where doctors did not give him all options, and put him on a regimen of palliative care. Keller wondered why […]

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No One Dies Alone

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC How refreshing. The media so often focus on doctor-prescribed death advocates and social outlaws like Kevorkian, that people who do really good, compassionate, and important work with people who are dying rarely receive their due. That is why I am very happy to see a […]

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The Problems With Hospice

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC Stories like this drive me crazy. A for-profit hospice is being sued for allowing one of its patients to have maggots in a wound without treatment. The excuse given is utterly unacceptable. From the Bloomberg column, “Preparing Americans for Death Allows Hospices to Neglect Life,” […]

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Tens of Millions Worldwide Have No Pain Control

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC When I had the honor of interviewing the founder of hospice, Dame Cecily Saunders, for my book Culture of Death, at the end of our conversation, I asked the usual catchall question of whether there was anything else she wanted to say. She thought a […]

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Hospice Under Financial Pressure as Advocates Push Assisted Suicide

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC Connect the dots: Legalized assisted suicide costs about $100 for the drugs, and perhaps $1,000 for the medical review. Assisted suicide is pushed unremittingly across the country, and is currently a big fight in Vermont. Hospice, costs much more, because rather than discarding the patient […]

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Oregon Hospices Right Not to Cooperate With Assisted Suicide

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC I am rarely encouraged by news out of Oregon about assisted suicide, where doctors may legally prescribe a lethal overdose to patients they diagnose as terminally ill. Over the years, the number of assisted suicides has increased, while the media studiously ignored studies demonstrating that […]

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Oregon Hospices Right Not to Cooperate With Assisted Suicide

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBCI am rarely encouraged by news out of Oregon about assisted suicide, where doctors may legally prescribe a lethal overdose to patients they diagnose as terminally ill. Over the years, the number of assisted suicides has increased, while the media studiously ignored studies demonstrating that abuses […]

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Proper Palliative Sedation Not Same as Assisted Suicide’s “Terminal Sedation”

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC The assisted suicide movement is ever about blurring vital distinctions and deconstructing crucial definitions. One target has been the proper pain control technique known as palliative sedation, a rarely required procedure in which patients near death are sedated to control pain or other symptoms such […]

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