Share This Page

What hospice is & isn't

| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

In Brad Bumsted's news story “Pa. nurse's assisted suicide case hits at heart of national debate” (Oct. 14 and TribLIVE.com), there is misleading information from Sean Crowley, spokesman for the group Compassion & Choices.

He said prosecution of Barbara Mancini “will have a chilling effect on millions of other families who fear that providing home hospice care for their dying relatives could put them in prison.” This terribly inaccurate statement could have the real chilling effect of eliminating hospice care for deserving patients.

Authentic hospice is neither illegal nor linked to assisted suicide. What he said is simply wrong.

Hospice is a philosophy of care that treats patients for optimal comfort. It is a Medicare benefit for any eligible patient once that patient (and the family) decide to forgo disease-directed therapy (e.g., stopping chemotherapy when cancer becomes incurable).

It is an interdisciplinary and holistic approach, the goal of which is to manage patients' symptoms (pain, weakness, depression, shortness of breath, etc.) to reduce their suffering as much as possible. Hospice is used for caring, not for killing those we love.

Compassion & Choices once called itself the Hemlock Society. The group was at least honest at one time about its mission of killing.

Ralph A. Capone

Hempfield

The writer is a physician who is board-certified in hospice and palliative care.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.