Hospice Is About Living

Ocean SunriseAustin Schmid / Unsplash | Creative Commons 4.0
December 28, 2015 | Pensacola News Journal
by Dr. Dale O. Knee

I read with great sadness the wonderful article by Troy Moon (PNJ 12/6/15) and the obituary for Darrell Evans (PNJ 12/6/15), each related to the circumstances of Mr. Evans’ death.

Mr. Evans died alone and perhaps in pain, as reported in the very interesting and concurrently painful obituary written by his attorney, who wished to remain anonymous. Mr. Evans was discovered some time after his death, and was unclaimed by anyone.

As someone who spent almost 25 years providing hospice services to the dying, this story reminded me of the thoughts that have gone through my mind and resided in my heart far too many times – that is, no one should have to die alone or in physical, mental, or spiritual pain.

Hospice care could have very likely been the answer for Mr. Evans and for many others in our community who have, for whatever reasons, “fallen through the cracks.”

Now, I recognize that Mr. Evans may not have wanted hospice care; he might even have wanted to die alone and in the circumstances in which he lived and eventually died. And we of the hospice movement recognize and respect those desires. But, in all likelihood he was not given options and choices and if that is the case such would be very unfortunate when hospice care is so readily available to all.

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