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Barbara Coombs Lee

Good Death vs. Doctor Knows Best

Fran Moreland Johns | Posted 12.16.2014 | Impact
Fran Moreland Johns

Perhaps doctors will eventually all be adequately trained in pain management and palliative care. But even then -- and "then" is a very long way off -- must the doctor always know best? Why can't I, the patient, the person facing my own dying, be the one in control?

Should Doctors Learn to Grieve?

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 07.31.2012 | Healthy Living
Barbara Coombs Lee

Grieving openly serves the important function of assuring ourselves and others that it is normal, and temporary, and part of a full and authentic life. Only suppressed grief threatens one's mental health.

When Wishes Are Fishes

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 06.23.2012 | Healthy Living
Barbara Coombs Lee

How do we get doctors to honor our wishes at the end of life? Most recommend preparing an advance directive, and I'm no exception. These documents are not infallible, but they are the best things we've got going for us when we can't speak for ourselves.

Vigilantes in Scrubs

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 06.02.2012 | Healthy Living
Barbara Coombs Lee

We need specific legal protection for professionals who honor their patients' end-of-life decisions and follow best-practice standards for managing end-of-life agonies.

Peter Goodwin, Pioneer for Human Liberty

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 05.22.2012 | Healthy Living
Barbara Coombs Lee

Eighteen years ago, Dr. Peter Goodwin led the fight to grant Oregonians the right to end-of-life choice. Terminally ill with a rare, fatal brain disease with no known cure, Peter exercised the right to a peaceful death he helped secure.

Bishops Step Over the Line

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 04.25.2012 | Politics
Barbara Coombs Lee

As with contraception, a free society must find the middle ground. Catholic Bishops must be free to exercise their religion, yet we cannot allow them to deny that same freedom to the rest of us.

The Schiavo Case Seven Years Later

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 04.15.2012 | Politics
Barbara Coombs Lee

Politicians should not limit those choices arbitrarily and should never seek to impose their own moral judgment on complex deliberations in a religiously diverse nation.

Do Doctors Die Like the Rest of Us?

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 03.25.2012 | Healthy Living
Barbara Coombs Lee

In November, Dr. Ken Murray published a blog called "How Doctors Die." It's been reverberating through the Web ever since, prompting a continuous stream of comments and inspiring others to offer their own essays and input.

Good News From Kentucky!

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 03.13.2012 | Healthy Living
Barbara Coombs Lee

The year 2011 closed with good news out of Kentucky. On Friday Governor Steve Beshear refused to approve a Louisville hospital merger that threatened patient choice.

We Listen. We Care.

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 01.16.2012 | Impact
Barbara Coombs Lee

Leaders in the care of patients who face serious and life-limiting illness have designated November as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, pro...

Palliative Care Information Act at the Bedside: Achieving Truly Informed Consent

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 09.20.2011 | New York
Barbara Coombs Lee

New York has a new law, called the Palliative Care information Act (PCIA). It's simple, and short, and outlines a specific standard for doctors who ca...

Health Care Decisions Day: Make it Matter

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 06.17.2011 | Home
Barbara Coombs Lee

Saturday, April 16 was the fourth annual National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD). The NHDD coalition aims to inspire, educate, and empower the public...

Sierra Vista Chooses Community Over Catholicism

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 06.04.2011 | Religion
Barbara Coombs Lee

An increasingly conservative hierarchy is flexing its muscle and leaving hospitals with a stark choice: buckle under pressure from Catholic authority or break the shackles of Vatican oversight.

Signs of Hope in Western States

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Barbara Coombs Lee

Historically, end-of-life choice has suffered at the hands of politicians. The people's simple yearning for freedom and control at the end of life has been no match for the heavy hand of politicians.

Medical Society of New York Fights Palliative Care Information Act Despite Mounting Evidence

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 05.25.2011 | New York
Barbara Coombs Lee

A new bill instructs physicians to discuss a prognosis with seriously ill patients and ask if they would like information on hospice, palliative care and appropriate end-of-life options.

The Crime of Assisting a Suicide

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 11.17.2011 | Healthy Living
Barbara Coombs Lee

Let's be clear. Our movement for end-of-life choice does not condone assisted suicide, and it never has.

Hobson's Choice

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Barbara Coombs Lee

Today family, friends and neighbors who loved Joan and Thomas Vanacore are grieving their tragic deaths and wondering how it might have been different...

Find Yourself A Good Doctor

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 11.17.2011 | Healthy Living
Barbara Coombs Lee

Above all, value humility in your physician. Find a doctor who utters the words, "I don't know" and you've found true gold.

An All-Too-Common Tragedy and a Small Triumph

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 11.17.2011 | Healthy Living
Barbara Coombs Lee

Too many terminally ill patients suffer with under-treated pain. Too many feel abandoned because their physicians forget about their duty to relieve suffering.

How the Opinion of One Pope Became the Rule for All Americans

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 11.17.2011 | Healthy Living
Barbara Coombs Lee

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops recently mandated tube-feeding for all permanently unconscious patients in Catholic healthcare institutions. How did it come to take this position?

Healthcare Reform and the Price of Torture

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home
Barbara Coombs Lee

In this country we usually torture people before we allow them to die of whatever is killing them --- cancer, emphysema, the multi-organ failure of di...

AMA Opposition and the Path Ahead

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Barbara Coombs Lee

With so many doctors supporting it, who stands against empowering dying patients? Four hundred thirty physicians in the AMA House of Delegates who craft its policy.

Patient-Centered Principles Cause a Stir

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 11.17.2011 | Healthy Living
Barbara Coombs Lee

Changing the focus from the disease to the person who has the disease would create radical change indeed.

New HHS "Conscience" Rule Jeopardizes End-of-Life Pain Care

Barbara Coombs Lee | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Barbara Coombs Lee

This ill-conceived rule will surely obstruct and delay good care in many instances, increasing the suffering of dying patients and their loved ones.