Thursday, February 8, 2007

Congressman to seek hospice; Young people with bad disease

Charlie Norwood, a congressman from Georgia, had a press release yesterday that he is foregoing further treatment for his NSCLC. He is a 7-term Republican who is not resigning his seat, and has said in some new reports that he may consider further treatment if he becomes better. The press release states that he will also receive 24-hour nursing care at his home.

I am glad to see the public mention of hospice care for public figures. I always have wondered when you hear about a famous person dying at home if they had hospice services or if they were able to hire their own nurses and physicians to come and visit them. I wished that the hospice philosophy could benefit from more public mentions like this and Art Buchwald.

(Although it should be noted that 24-hour in-home nursing care is not part of the Medicare Hospice Benefit (obviously barring continuous care for crisis), nor of most commercial insurance that I am familiar with. Just don't want any misconceptions since this is public knowledge).

NY Times had a great article about cancer in people under 40. The tone of the article is 'isn't this shocking' mixed in with a little 'but the outlook is good.' I think the best quote is from Lauren Terrazzano when she says, "Cancer is the ultimate form of identity theft." They also link to a site which highlights how to live with a cancer diagnosis at a young age. For those of us in the hospice field, I know we have all seen our share of patients that seemed way too young for cancer. But then is any age a better age for cancer? There is no good age to have cancer. We should caution against being ageist.

MSNBC (via the AP) has a good story on a young mother who has been diagnosed with ALS. I appreciate the highlights on the children coping with their mother as well as links to how to help children grieve. Great acknowledgements of the Pediatric Voice (a title from a talk at the AAHPM)

The Washington Post had an editorial from someone who has been diagnosed with "life-threatening diseases four times." The editorial focuses very well on the patients perspective of being a "blunter" or a "monitor.' New terms to me but the article goes on to talk about how different people want different amounts of information when it comes to their medical care.

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