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End of Life

Dear Governor Brown: I Don't Want to Die on Cancer's Terms

Naomi Sichler | Posted 09.29.2015 | Politics
Naomi Sichler

Governor Brown: I urge you to sign ABX2-15. Give me and the dozens of other amazing humans I've met on my journey with cancer (and the countless others I've never met) some peace and relief from the dread of those final months.

Proceed With Caution, Jerry Brown

Jessica Nutik Zitter, MD, MPH | Posted 09.28.2015 | Healthy Living
Jessica Nutik Zitter, MD, MPH

My purpose is rather to strike a cautionary note, to acknowledge the risks of taking this leap, and to call for a much more rigorous set of conditions to be fulfilled by the physicians assuming this weighty responsibility than I have currently seen proposed.

This Is How You Feed A Dying Person

Susan R. Dolan | Posted 09.10.2015 | Fifty
Susan R. Dolan

My mother likes to say that all children need at least one person in their life who thinks that they are absolutely wonderful and can do no wrong. My grandma Daisy, my father's mother, was that person for me.

Santhara -- Jain Way of Death with Equanimity

Manoj Jain, MD MPH | Posted 09.04.2015 | Religion
Manoj Jain, MD MPH

By dying in meditation the aspirants are able to die with the mind being in complete awareness, calm and undisturbed by pain or emotions. Moreover, the aspirants practice their ultimate belief that their body and the material world are not their pure self and that they detach from them.

Saying Goodbye to My Daughter the First and Last Time

Jaye Watson | Posted 08.31.2015 | Parents
Jaye Watson

"Hey!" my husband yelled, iPhone poised to take one last photo. They turned around, and my daughter had what I call the smile of fear. In the photo, you can see she is looking off camera -- at me. My husband snapped the picture, she turned back around and was gone.

How To Have Difficult Conversations About Hospice Care

The Huffington Post | Kira Brekke | Posted 07.23.2015 | Fifty

On the heels of Medicare's recent announcement of plans to start paying doctors to give patients counseling about end-of-life care, Huf...

Advance Health Care Planning Part 2: Why Filling Out Your Forms Is Not Enough

Judith Johnson | Posted 07.22.2015 | Healthy Living
Judith Johnson

In part one of this blog (, I discussed why every mentally-com...

Over My Dead Body

Paul Fidalgo | Posted 07.15.2015 | Science
Paul Fidalgo

Death will definitely come. There's no avoiding that. Morbid curiosity will be sated. The scales will tilt to the point of falling over. I see no reason to place my thumb on them now.

When Cure Is Not an Option

Fran Moreland Johns | Posted 07.06.2015 | Healthy Living
Fran Moreland Johns

"Has anybody asked the patient?" Jessica Nutik Zitter raised her hand to pose that question some years ago, at a "Morbidity and Mortality" conference...

Why Forgiveness Is The Best Gift You Can Give Yourself

Susan R. Dolan | Posted 06.30.2015 | Fifty
Susan R. Dolan

As Jack's mother grew weaker, another little hospice miracle unfolded: it seemed that the weaker Jack's mother became, the sweeter she became. She stopped cursing her son and began to melt the ice she had packed around her heart.

3 Important Steps (at Any Age) to Prepare for Dying

Kyrié Sue Carpenter | Posted 06.29.2015 | Healthy Living
Kyrié Sue Carpenter

The simple view is that medicine exists to fight death and disease, and that is, of course, its most basic task. Death is the enemy. But the enemy has...

Advance Healthcare Planning Part One: Not Just for Old People

Judith Johnson | Posted 06.19.2015 | Healthy Living
Judith Johnson

There's been a big push in recent years to educate the public about Advance Healthcare Planning (AHP). The focus has been primarily on the forms ...

Choosing a Better Death

Fran Moreland Johns | Posted 05.12.2015 | Impact
Fran Moreland Johns

The movement toward "good" death - legalized medical aid in dying - has been growing for decades in the U.S., but has been gaining momentum and attention in recent months.

Hawaiian Luaus, Leis and... End-of-Life Care?

Angelo Volandes | Posted 05.11.2015 | Hawaii
Angelo Volandes

White sand beaches and sweet-scented leis are the tropical images most people conjure of Hawaii. Now it is conceivable that the Aloha State will help untangle the Gordian knot of end-of-life healthcare issues.

6 Ways to Help a Grieving Friend

Karen M. Wyatt, M.D. | Posted 05.08.2015 | Healthy Living
Karen M. Wyatt, M.D.

Still it is difficult to face our own discomfort with death and offer support to someone who has suffered a loss if we don't know what to do or say in that situation. Here are some suggestions for offering your help to a grieving friend:

A Doctor's Response to Angelina Jolie

Jessica Nutik Zitter, MD, MPH | Posted 06.14.2015 | Healthy Living
Jessica Nutik Zitter, MD, MPH

And so, reading your words in the New York Times last week gave me great hope. Although medical culture is just beginning to shift, I have come to believe that, for now, this new paradigm in medicine needs to be led by lay people. And you are the quintessential lay leader to start this conversation.

How to Plan the Perfect Funeral

Karen M. Wyatt, M.D. | Posted 05.28.2015 | Healthy Living
Karen M. Wyatt, M.D.

As a hospice medical director I've been to a lot of funerals, but only one of them has been labeled "perfect" in my memory. Over the years I have made...

Life Priorities, When Chasing

Lisa Guest | Posted 05.25.2015 | Entertainment
Lisa Guest

It's always a toss up of priorities. I know as I'm gorging on good material that there are moments I should savor. But the total package is so seductive that I can't be bothered to be polite, reasonable, health conscious or disciplined.

I Have Cancer -- and I Want the Option to Die on My Own Terms

Jennifer Glass | Posted 05.10.2015 | Healthy Living
Jennifer Glass

Our first year of marriage was not the honeymoon Harlan and I envisioned. At a time when I should have been writing him sweet love notes, instead I wrote him into my health care directive.

Stanford Program Helps Vietnamese RN Realize His Eldercare Calling

Andrew Lam | Posted 05.01.2015 | Impact
Andrew Lam

In 2012, Mai attended a Palliative Care Education and Training program for improving end-of-life care, held at Stanford University School of Medicine. His participation turned out to have a big effect on the Vietnamese community in San Jose.

Medicine at the Mercy of a Metaphor: Why We Need to Speak Differently About Death and Disease

Pranay Sinha | Posted 04.27.2015 | Healthy Living
Pranay Sinha

I believe that leaving the metaphor of war behind and finding more appropriate imagery will change health care for the better. After all, patients need doctors, not generals.

Why One Woman With Lung Cancer Photographed Herself Every Day For A Year

The Huffington Post | Erin Schumaker | Posted 02.24.2015 | Healthy Living

In 2013, Jennifer Glass was diagnosed with stage IIIB lung cancer. To help document her life, she took a photo every day and then, in March 2014, she ...

Nursing Job Satisfaction, Safety and Productivity

Abby Pingree | Posted 04.22.2015 | Healthy Living
Abby Pingree

I am aware that "get in and get out" is an attitude one must adopt to complete a very busy work day and still have time and energy to manage a home life. I feel this is not right. I understand that days like this occasionally occur but when this is the accepted norm it is time to re-think our nursing business model.

5 Action Steps to Improve End-of-Life Care in Your Community

Karen M. Wyatt, M.D. | Posted 03.27.2015 | Healthy Living
Karen M. Wyatt, M.D.

While we may not be able to singlehandedly transform the death industry in our country, each one of us can do something in our lives and our own communities to make a difference. We just have to be creative and strongly motivated to implement change.

What Might Have Been

David Morris | Posted 03.17.2015 | Politics
David Morris

Since its passage in 2009, ferocious opposition to the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) had proven a devastatingly effective electoral strategy for Republicans.