Barbara Coombs Lee

Barbara Coombs Lee's Blog

  • RIP Gus Reichbach, a true champion for justice

    Our friend Gus Reichbach died this week. We at Compassion & Choices met him about a year ago, when he was eager to tell the story of his battle with pancreatic cancer. He had already survived more years of brutal cancer treatment than one would think possible.

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  • Catholic Healthcare West Becomes Dignity Health

    Expansion in Oregon Tests whether it’s a Distinction without a Difference

    As I previously blogged, the Catholic hospital brand is no longer desirable in the marketplace for mergers and acquisitions of healthcare entities.

    This realization led Catholic Healthcare

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  • The Demise of the Catholic Hospital Brand

    It used to be Americans viewed Catholic hospitals and healthcare systems with universal respect and trust. They had no reason to do otherwise.

    Founded in the nineteenth century by orders of nuns with a mission to care for the poor, Catholic hospitals grew

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  • Should Doctors Learn to Grieve?

    Why is it so difficult for doctors to confront the truth when a patient is dying, and almost impossible for most to talk about it openly with the patient and loved ones?

    Last week I shared a hunch. A journalist asked me the question, “Why do doctors find these

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  • The Religious Right’s Assault on Palliative Care

    Anti-choice forces are taking aim at end-of-life care. They’re after people at the end of a long decline who exercise their right to stop life-prolonging technology or treatment. Their tactic is to tie the hands of doctors attending those patients, when palliative

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  • When Wishes are Fishes

    How do we get doctors to honor our wishes at the end of life? Most recommend preparing an advance directive, and I'm no exception. These documents are not infallible, but they are the best things we've got going for us when we can't speak for ourselves.

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  • National Healthcare Decisions Day: Amy's Story

    Compassion & Choices member Persis Oberreither, by completing an advance directive, inspired her teenage daughter to do the same. Here she tells of the heartbreak – and comfort – of honoring her daughter’s wishes.


    In recognition of National H

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  • Vigilantes in Scrubs

    A study published this month paints a troubling picture. Imagine palliative care doctors, working to deliver the best possible comfort care to their patients. Yet even as they meet the recognized best practices of their profession, their colleagues are

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  • Peter Goodwin, Pioneer for Human Liberty

    Eighteen years ago, Dr. Peter Goodwin led the fight to grant Oregonians the right to end-of-life choice. I was honored to work alongside Peter as a co-campaigner and call him a friend. Both as a physician and an advocate, he promoted honesty in facing death.

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  • Two Movements Approach the Tipping Point

    After years of gains and setbacks, the national movement for same-sex marriage is enjoying a period of remarkable success. Massachusetts and Connecticut became first adopters in 2004 and 2005 and that came after twenty years of advocacy. Turmoil followed,

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