Dying well — with courage and growth

May 04, 2015

Dr. Ira Byock, a leading palliative and hospice care authority, has seen dying persons grow when their families’ broken relationships are healed

By: R.W. Dellinger

When asked how long he’s been doing palliative and hospice care, an easy smile comes across Dr. Ira Byock’s face. “When I started,” quips the 64-year-old Jersey boy, “the Dead Sea was merely ill.”

As a young family practice resident in Fresno, he saw firsthand something that deeply troubled him. The seriously ill and dying — mostly farmworkers and their families who came to the local hospital and county clinics — were getting poor care at the end of their hard-working lives.

So Byock and some coworkers started a makeshift hospice program to coordinate these patients’ care. They established a team of doctors, nurses, social workers and chaplains who were on call for these very sick persons. Read full article