February 25, 2010 | By Bill Scanlon, Colorado Public News
After Ryan Fiegel fell into a coma in the wake of a brain tumor in February, his parents made the tough decision to take him off his ventilator. But Ryan, 26, didn’t die; he didn’t wake up either. The Fiegels decided they wanted Ryan’s last days to be at Grand Junction’s community hospice, the Hospice and Palliative Care Center of Western Colorado. He had received excellent care at St. Mary’s Hospital and Medical Center, but it was uncomfortable to be in the scurry and stress surrounding a place where staff was trained to do everything to fight death.
May 10, 2013 | By Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times
A worrisome abdominal pain drove Jalal Afshar to seek treatment last year at healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente. The Pasadena resident and Kaiser member had lived for years with a rare condition known as Castleman’s disease, which affects the lymph nodes and the body’s immune system. But this was the first time he experienced such severe symptoms. Kaiser granted his request to see a specialist in Arkansas. But it ultimately declined to pay for his treatment there. By June, Afshar said, Kaiser was arranging for hospice care so that he could die at home.
February 3, 1989
The largest AIDS hospice in Los Angeles has received its permanent certificate of occupancy and is running “smoothly” after problems over fire and building codes were straightened out. Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Hospice Foundation, said the Chris Brownlie AIDS Hospice in Elysian Park has met requirements for a permit that allows it to operate as a dormitory.
November 9, 1992 | TERRY SPENCER
When Pearl Jemison-Smith was a nurse, she never understood why doctors would order the resuscitation of someone dying from a terminal illness. “We would never allow someone who was dying to die,” she said, remembering back to the days when she was a nurse caring for those with cancer and other illnesses. “We would beat on their chest and defibrillate them. I felt like I was member of the Gestapo and that I was torturing them.”
December 18, 1993 | SCOTT GLOVER
When the residents of Group One hospice return to their facility in Sherman Oaks on Sunday, it may seem as if Santa Claus came calling early. Instead of coming home to drab walls and worn bedding, the nine AIDS patients and one terminal cancer patient will find freshly painted quarters and a new supply of linens, comforters, bath towels and accessories.
January 18, 1994 | TERRY SPENCER
Organizers of the county’s first nonprofit hospice say it will probably be spring before the facility opens. The Hospice of Orange County was scheduled to open in Anaheim Hills this month, but Helen Monroe, the group’s treasurer, now expects it to open by May. Monroe said the delay is due in part to efforts to corral a well-heeled benefactor to sponsor the facility. One benefactor, whom she would not name, is looking into adopting the project and taking care of its ongoing financial needs.
October 29, 1988 | STEPHEN BRAUN, Times Staff Writer
An official at Barlow Hospital, a respiratory facility in Elysian Park, angrily denied Friday the existence of plans to expand a 25-bed AIDS hospice that will open next month on the hospital’s grounds. John R. Howard, Barlow’s chief administrator, said that Michael Weinstein, the head of the Los Angeles AIDS Hospice Foundation, which is opening the 25-bed hospice in December, had no authority to make plans for an expansion funded by state revenue bonds.
June 7, 1988 | SHERYL STOLBERG, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles’ chief zoning administrator has reluctantly ruled that a Hollywood hospice for AIDS patients–the only one in the city and one of just a handful in the county–violates zoning laws and cannot remain in the neighborhood where it has operated for five months. The operators of Hughes House, at 1308 N. Ogden Ave. in a neighborhood of single-family homes, say they are confident they can successfully fight the ruling and won’t have to move.
April 25, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
In the days when American physicians dispensed oracular commands and their judgments were rarely questioned, a doctor could take it upon himself with few ethical qualms to keep from a patient the bad news of a terminal diagnosis. For better or worse, those days may be well behind us. But physicians have not ceased debating one of the stickiest and most universal ethical quandaries of medical practice: How, when and why does one inform a patient that he or she is dying? The latest evidence of that ongoing discussion was published Wednesday in the British Medical Journal.
April 15, 2013 | By Nita Lelyveld, Los Angeles Times
If you’re going to talk about a subject most people don’t want to talk about, why not do so over tea and cake and cookies? Why not gather in a sunny living room looking out on a lush tangle of green, where you can watch the breeze ruffle the leaves on the trees as you eat forkfuls of blueberry tart? Death comes to each of us, to everyone we love. Couldn’t talking about it in a safe, comfy setting make the prospect less frightening? This is what Betsy Trapasso thinks. This is why she’s asked friends to come – why on a Sunday afternoon, they’ve braved Topanga Canyon’s twists and turns and climbed the dozens of wooden steps to her end-of-a-rural-road front door.
February 5, 2013 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
For Americans with a terminal diagnosis, death increasingly comes in the places and ways they say they want it – at home and in the comfort of hospice care. But for a growing number of dying patients, that is preceded by a tumultuous month in which they endure procedures that are often as invasive and painful as they are futile. New research finds that the proportion of Medicare patients dying in hospice care nearly doubled from 22% in 2000 to 42% in 2009, an apparent bow to patients’ overwhelming preference for more peaceful passings free of heroic measures.
October 16, 2012 | By Morgan Little
WASHINGTON — George McGovern, former senator and Democratic presidential candidate, has been placed in hospice care in Sioux Falls, S.D. After several recent hospitalizations — including admittances in 2011 for fatigue and an injury after striking his head in a fall, and most recently for testing in Florida in connection with frequent exhaustion and speech difficulties — his family has decided to move him to the Dougherty Hospice House in.
October 4, 2012 | Gale Holland, Los Angeles Times
We had to put Felix to sleep last month. I say “had to put him to sleep” because I can’t bear the thought there might have been an alternative. I had two other dogs who lived to be 21 before dying at home. Toward the end, several people had suggested I look into euthanasia, but the dogs mercifully died before I had to. I believe animals shouldn’t have to suffer because I can’t pull the trigger. But I don’t get how to tell when their time is up. Families once put pets to sleep if dad got a job transfer; now, the standards seem all over the map. Days after Felix’s death, an article appeared in the New York Times arguing that death too often is used to end animal suffering when “much less aggressive possibilities exist.
February 19, 2012 | By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
“I’m not sick; I’m only dying,” a friend told Dr. William Lamers Jr. The man had inoperable cancer and wanted to go home to die, but his doctor wouldn’t let him out of the hospital. It was the early 1970s, when most people with incurable illnesses died in a hospital, in a lonely room, attended by doctors and nurses with no specialized knowledge of the dying patient’s emotional and physical needs. There was no system for caring for the dying at home. The experience opened Lamers’ eyes to a major failing of the healthcare system.
September 26, 2011 | By Ann J. Brady, Special to the Los Angeles Times
When people ask about my father’s death, I always respond the same way: “Except for the fact that he died, everything was perfect. ” Perhaps because I am an oncology nurse, they expect a different answer. But after a six-year battle with colon cancer, he died on his own terms — perfect for a less-than-perfect situation. He was home on hospice. He was comfortable. His wife of 53 years, his six children and several grandchildren surrounded his bed. We are stoic folks, but as Dad drew his last breath, one sister, perhaps tapping into our Irish heritage, started a keening wail.
February 2, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
Patients at the end of their lives often receive their final care from hospice workers. Contrary to what the haven’t-really-though-about-it-crowd might suspect, not all such care involves administering drugs. Hospice therapists in Florida team up to use a combination of music and massage to treat dying patients such as Bernard Michels, 98. He, for one, sees the merits. “It brings back memories of when I was a younger guy,” he says in a South Florida Sun Sentinel story. The music-massage approach delivers more than a passing feel-good emotion.