Dr. Dustin Ballard: What 'palliative care' really means

Full story: Marin Independent Journal

What does the term "palliative care" mean to you? Do you think about metastatic cancer, depression and Death Panels? About funerals and estate planning? Most likely, you don't think about palliative care at all, or would very much prefer not to.
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1 - 2 of 2 Comments Last updated Nov 9, 2010
Sandra Lew

Morgan Hill, CA

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#1
Nov 9, 2010
 
Thank you to Dr. Ballard for his column on palliative care’s effectiveness in increasing the quality of life for seriously ill and terminally ill patients. We hope more patients will learn about the value of palliative care and will ask for these beneficial services. In addition to Kaiser-Permanente in San Rafael, Marin General Hospital and Novato Community Hospital also offer in-patient palliative care services.
Sandra Lew, CEO
Hospice By The Bay

Since: Feb 09

Vallejo, CA

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#2
Nov 9, 2010
 
I have a personal experience with Hospice in helping my father at the very end days. Aside from talking with me, his only remaining family at the time of his death, it was largely a matter of pain relief. When the Hospice nurse first administered those amazing morphine extract drops in order to determine the necessary dose to relax him and ease the obvious pain he was suffering, it was an amazing thing to witness.

On the other hand, my mother went through a year of pure physical hell because, as she put it repeatedly, "I don't want to die." So she chose to have surgeons perform the Whipple procedure, the dreadful surgical treatment for pancreatic cancer. She never recovered from this surgery, so was unable to continue with the other planned treatments--chemo & radiation. So she suffered a miserable life for very nearly a year, eventually dying in an acute nursing care facility. The details of what occurred to my mother during that final year stretch the bounds of a public forum, but it was not something I would wish on an enemy.

My father died a much more dignified and peaceful death than did my mother. She wanted to live, so she said, but she died a terrible death as a result. Think about it.

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