Shamira Cook: “Who Am I?”

David Barnard, Patricia Boston R.N., Anna Towers and Yanna Lambrinidou

in Crossing Over

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780195123432
Published online November 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199999835 | DOI:
Shamira Cook: “Who Am I?”

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This chapter examines the case of Shamira Cook, a 34-year-old African American woman who was not only terminally ill with cancer but also a single parent with a history of heroin addiction. In a society in which hospice institutions were dominated by white members of the middle class, even in communities with an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse population, several African Americans mistrusted the hospice approach. Ms. Cook was among these people. Her social situation, attitudes toward her cancer, and life history posed a great challenge to her hospice team. Ms. Cook's insistent desire to fight her disease at all costs struck a discord with her hospice team and aggravated a long-standing disagreement with her daughter. However, despite the tension within her hospice team and her inevitable death, Ms. Cook felt she was on an urgent mission, which made it impossible for her to accept and give in to her cancer, despite its physical and mental toll.

Keywords: African American; terminally ill; addiction; hospice; social situation; attitudes; hospice team

Chapter.  11934 words. 

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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