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Medical Writings |

Palliative Care Textbooks Come of Age

Timothy E. Quill, MD; and J. Andrew Billings, MD
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University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry; Rochester, NY 14607 (Quill) Harvard Medical School; Boston, MA 02114 (Billings) Grant Support: Dr. Billings is supported by National Cancer Institute grant R225CA 66818-01 and the Faculty Scholars Program of the Open Society Institute Project on Death in America. Requests for Reprints: Timothy E. Quill, MD, Department of Medicine, The Genesee Hospital, 224 Alexander Street, Rochester, NY 14607. Current Author Addresses: Dr. Quill: Department of Medicine, The Genesee Hospital, 224 Alexander Street, Rochester, NY 14607. Dr. Billings: Palliative Care Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, FND 600, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, MA 02114.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1998;129(7):590-594. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-129-7-199810010-00026
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At last, good care of the dying is on the American agenda. One can hardly pick up a newspaper, magazine, or medical journal without finding an article devoted to some aspect of end-of-life care. Many major medical organizations have joined the lament-sounded for the past 25 years by the hospice movement-that care of the dying is woefully inadequate, and they have challenged us to improve our palliative care practices [18]. Hospice programs have shown us what good care looks like, but these model programs have largely been restricted to patients with cancer who are expected to live for 6 months or less; these patients are usually in their last weeks of life, accept that they are dying, agree to forego “aggressive” treatment, and have caregivers at home.

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