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Showing posts from November, 2015

An Update from the Hill: Advancing the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA)

Washington D.C. was an exciting place at the end of October. Sure there was a whirlwind deal to shore up the budget and avoid a crisis over the next two years.  And there was the resignation of Speaker Boehner and election of Speaker Ryan. But more importantly, AAHPM was in town to discuss the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act or PCHETA.

The take home from AAHPM fly-in is this:  Just as the construction on the Capital Dome is slow going but advancing, PCHETA is moving forward.  Progress is being made and we have MOMENTUM. Participants described constituent meetings with legislators and their staff as productive.  The legislature knows more and more about PCHETA and understands the issues better.


The PCHETA bill was first described on GeriPal in 2012. For those who think, "why is this important bill not already law"  it is important to recognize that a lot of good work has happened.

1. The PCHETA bill of 2015, which was introduced by Representatives Engel…

Recognizing the Incurable in Ancient Egypt

by Jeffrey M Levine MD

The art of medicine is as old as human civilization, and what we think is new has often been done before. When researching the history of wound care I came across an interesting historical antecedent to today’s palliative care practices. I found it in the library of the New York Academy of Medicine in Manhattan, in a translation of an ancient Egyptian medical scroll, the Smith Papyrus, pictured above.

During the American Civil War, an Egyptologist named Edwin Smith acquired the scroll and brought it to the United States where it subsequently found a home at the Academy on Fifth Avenue. The document is roughly fifteen feet long and three feet wide, and has writing on both the front and back. The scroll is made of papyrus, an ancient form of paper made from fibers of a plant native to the Nile region. Written with a reed pen, the text is a simplified form of Egyptian writing known as hieratics. The script differs from formal hieroglyphics which were more co…