By Dr. Gene Dorio
Evelyn was my patient for 30 years. She lost her husband, and even a son. As mobility and vision decreased, she lost her drivers license and independence.
Still, quality of life was sustained by family, friends, faith, and her dog, Toady.
In her late ’90s she faded, and knew she was at end-of-life. Our past conversations prepared her for this decision, and she was ready for hospice.
Her primary request was for me to remain her doctor, which I agreed, doing housecalls in her final days.
Hospice allowed her to be comfortable and not suffer. With Medicare red tape, I had to jump through hoops to continue seeing her:
Attend hospice meetings concerning Evelyn’s care with other medical professionals;
relinquish any end-of-life medical decision-making to the hospice doctor;
not manage pain or comfort medication.
I had no problems jumping through these hoops as I had done it many times in the past. This is difficult for some doctors though, as sometimes patients experience a final loss when they lose their longtime physician because of red tape.
Toady was there when Evelyn passed away.
So was her doctor.