“Death Cafés” have been popping up around the country as a nonthreatening way for people to share information on a sensitive and often taboo subject.

Zitter, a palliative care physician and one of the critical care attending staff at Highland Hospital, started the evening with a story: She talked about being asked by a friend to visit the bedside of a wealthy, powerful and once-vigorous man in the last stages of pancreatic cancer.

“I saw this family in tremendous distress. I said, ‘Your husband is dying,’ and I used the word ‘dying’ because that’s a word people never hear.” The family was reluctant to call in hospice, because that would require discontinuing the regimen of disease-fighting therapies.

“They were afraid that he’d think they were giving up on him,” Zitter said.

After speaking with Zitter, the family decided to call in hospice, and not long thereafter, the man died peacefully, listening to opera with loved ones around him. (…) Read Full Publication Here

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