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Archdiocese hosts first Palliative Care Colloquium


Ira Byock addresses Palliative Care Colloquium at the Pastoral Center in Braintree, April 30. Pilot photo/Mark Labbe

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BRAINTREE -- As part of its efforts to propose an alternative to the growing movement that promotes physician-assisted suicide as an answer to patient suffering, the Archdiocese of Boston held its first-ever annual Palliative Care Colloquium at the Pastoral Center in Braintree, April 30.

Voters narrowly rejected a ballot initiative to legalize physician-assisted suicide in Massachusetts in 2012, but the issue continues to percolate on Beacon Hill and could again come before voters in 2018.

A mix of religious and laypeople, many of whom are healthcare professionals, attended the event, which featured talks by respected individuals working in the palliative care field.

Ira Byock, founder and Chief Medical Officer of the Institute for Human Caring of Providence Health and Services in California and Professor of Medicine and Community and Family Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, was the featured speaker.

He began by briefly discussing the history of human caring and healthcare, which he traced back thousands of years. Byock noted that starting in the mid-1900s, with the invention of modern medicines and medical practices, the healthcare in the United States has "moved a little bit away in medicine from the relational and the soulful, spiritual part of healing."

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