Going Gently Into That Good Night

There is much about the Schiavo case to wring one's hands over, but one of the many injustices bandied about in the media is the unanswered vilification of hospice care. "Pro-life" activists constantly decried the alleged suffering and neglect, if not outright abuse, and regularly stormed Hospice House Woodside to take food or water to Ms. Schiavo. Rarely did any news account point out that the poor woman would likely choke on anything given orally. And though I looked, nowhere did I find a story countering the charges of "pro-lifers" with the very real care and concern of hospices.

Well, better late than not at all. The Washington Post has come up with an excellent story from the hospice workers' point of view. They call it "The Siege," and even two months afterward, folks there still suffer psychological trauma. Anyone who has had friends or family use hospice services knows that these are people working on the side of the angels: helping people meet death painlessly and peacefully, comforting their survivors, and upholding the dignity of all involved. "This is sacred ground," the chaplain is quoted. Most press coverage, as much as the raucous demonstrations, violated that space.