The 2012 Cuniff-Dixon Awards bestowed by the Hastings Center to physicians for excellence in providing care at the end of life, and my friend and colleague Janet Bull, Chief Medical Officer of Four Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care in Fletcher, N.C. has been awarded the senior physician prize for 2012. Janet is a passionate physician and patient advocate who has also invested a great deal of time and energy to building the research infrastructure in palliative care and hospice.
Janet was trained as an OB/GYN, and her perspective of End Of Life (EOL) care as an inevitable part of life is an interesting one.
“I have probably attended as many deaths as I have births,” she said when asked recently about her relationship with patients. “I find the similarities uncanny. There is a sacredness that surrounds them both. A good birth and a good death are filled with the same ingredients – laughter, tears, peacefulness, joy, love and an incredible sense of awe. My purpose has been to help guide my patients through these transitions.”
Everyone will die, it is only a question of when and from what. We need to continue to better understand how to help patients through this inevitable transition, and somehow rescue this inevitability of life from the bitter politics of health reform.