In my April 6th post I discuss the case of Dr. Pardi, a palliative care physician who chose to continue aggressive cancer therapy when she was dying. Letters to the editor about the article don't mention what I consider to be a key point.
Dr. Pardi's story illustrates how difficult it is when you are healthy to project what you will want when you are dying.
In my April 6th post, I focus on my belief that "hopeful acceptance" helps patients live as Healthy Survivors in whatever time remains. And that each patient finds a unique balance of hope and acceptance that works well for him or her.
But take a moment to read the letters to the editor by clicking here. I'm surprised that nobody mentions that palliative is not synonymous with hospice care. I kept waiting for someone to write about palliative care bringing the science and art of medicine to the task of assessing and treating each patient's discomforts -- physical and emotional -- independent of his or her prognosis.
Surely these experts took that truth for granted. But it is my impression that many people still equate palliative care with end-of-life care. And as long as they do, many will be deprived the benefits of palliative care when their long-term prognosis is good.
Healthy Survivors know that palliative care can help them get good care and live as fully as possible from the moment of diagnosis on. At every stage of their journey. Whatever the prognosis at the moment.