Hospice Patients Alliance: Consumer Advocacy

Dr. Hamilton Comments on Hospice Industry
Protests about USA Today Articles.

August 25, 2001

Letters Editor
USA Today

"The Painful Truth of Hospice" (August 20, 2001) provides a much needed public alert. It's warning about financial pressures on hospice organizations compromising patient care must be heeded by all of us. One HMO I know of restricts funds available for home health care, including hospice, to a meager $1,000, total. This same HMO fully funds assisted suicide as an alternative to medical care in my state of Oregon. This is the only state that allows assisted suicide; but inadequate hospice care can lead to desperation and suffering anywhere.

Responsible hospice organizations should welcome the clear light your article sheds on a serious problem. Any conscientious medical organization wants to recognize problems and correct them, not hush them up. Thanks to USA Today for responsible reporting on this subject of life and death importance.

N. Gregory Hamilton, M.D.
Physicians for Compassionate Care
Portland, Oregon

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Hospice Patients Alliance affirms that all human life is inherently valuable and that the role of hospice nurses, physicians and all other staff is to alleviate suffering and provide comfort for the sick and dying without sanctioning or assisting their suicide. A death with dignity allows for a natural death in its own time, while doing everything possible to assure relief from distressing symptoms.

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