“While we’ve strived to fight disease and maintain health, we’ve made it harder in many regards to die.”

Ira Byock, MD

Episode 1: Ira Byock

Dr. Ira Byock is a leading palliative care physician, author, and public advocate for improving care through the end of life.

Dr. Ira Byock is a leading palliative care physician, author, and public advocate for improving care through the end of life.

He has been involved in hospice and palliative care since 1978 and in his early years helped found a hospice home care program for the indigent population served by the university hospital and county clinics of Fresno, Calif.

In 2014, Dr. Byock accepted an offer from Providence Health & Services to develop and serve as chief medical officer of the Providence Institute for Human Caring. The institute’s goal is to advance quality in care through the end of life via training and research. The institute also aims to engage the public by raising expectations and giving consumers the information and tools they need to get better care for themselves.

Dr. Byock authored Dying Well in 1997 and The Four Things That Matter Most in 2004. Both are used extensively in the counseling of patients and families dealing with advanced illness. His most recent book, is The Best Care Possible, addresses how “more” is not always better in end-of-life care.

Dr. Byock and I have similar beliefs when it comes to end of life care, even though we may differ on some of the details. I do believe our end goal is the same: to discover how to die well in the American healthcare system in which we all live. But what does this all mean? Good death or dying well? This is what we all want to discover.

Dr. Byock is a practicing physician and is currently based in Torrance, Calif.

www.irabyock.org