There's a shortage of doctors who provide palliative care, and the need is growing as baby boomers slide towards old age.
Smith was planning to go back to the emergency room. But interactions like that one persuaded her to stay in palliative care. Now she works more and makes less money. Some days, she wonders if she's crazy.
But then she gets to visit a patient like Dawn Dillard.
Back in her hospital room, Dillard and Smith talk about having a second procedure. Smith leaves and calls Dillard's other doctors. They end up agreeing that the second procedure isn't really necessary after all. So instead of staying another night in the hospital, Dillard is back home by the end of the day.
This story is part of a reporting partnership that includes APRN, NPR and Kaiser Health News.
Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communications organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
Wed, Jul 03 2013