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Dr. Robert Fine

Dr. Fine is the Clinical Director of the Office of Clinical Ethics and Palliative Care for Baylor Health Care System.

Maintaining hope during COVID-19 physical distancing

I offer these comments on COVID-19 from the perspective of a palliative medicine doctor. I specialize in communicating sad, bad or otherwise hard to hear “serious illness” news while helping the patient, family or staff member maintain hope. You may not think of it this way but COVID-19 is a “serious illness” and we must regard …

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serious illness

Innovative approach to improving serious illness care

When one faces a serious illness, “Plan A” is to utilize the powers of modern medicine to try to restore health. But what if that plan doesn’t work as desired? What if the patient is left chronically debilitated in a nursing home? What if the patient is trapped in the intensive care unit before inevitable …

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National Healthcare Decisions Day: What is Your Plan B?

The scene plays itself out over and over in hospitals across America. A patient, let’s call him “John”, lies incurably ill in the intensive care unit. A machine breathes for John and various drugs support other body functions. He’s unable to communicate. The doctor explains to the John’s family, “I’m sorry to say that John …

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