Stanley Gray: “Like Lazarus, He Came Back from the Dead”

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:
Stanley Gray: “Like Lazarus, He Came Back from the Dead”

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This chapter discusses the case of Stanley Gray, the only living patient in this study as the researchers completed the book. Mr. Gray was admitted to a home care program because he appeared to be dying from congestive heart failure (CHF) and end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, his conditions improved, surprising everyone. Although he was dependent on oxygen, morphine, and eight bronchodilator treatments every day, Mr. Gray regained independence and developed a deeply religious life. One year after his admission to the hospice, his social worker believed Mr. Gray was no longer in a terminal phase. His nurse believed otherwise: that he was just functional and could die at any time. The chapter shows the unpredictability of the CHF and COPD diseases and the challenge they present to the current hospice care system of the United States. It illustrates the boundary between palliative and long-term care and the personal and relational transformations that can happen in the terminal phase. The chapter also explores the questions of religious faith and the role religion plays in the medication and treatment of terminally ill patients.

Keywords: home care; heart failure; pulmonary disease; religious life; hospice care; palliative care; long-term care

Chapter.  10638 words. 

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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