BIG STONE GAP, Va. – Sometimes there is nothing more medicine can do. But that doesn’t mean a physician is finished caring for his or her patient – or that patient’s family.

End-of-life care, also known as hospice or palliative care, is an important aspect of modern healthcare, one that helps terminally ill patients and their families achieve the best possible quality of life throughout a serious illness.

“Palliative medicine helps the patient and family face the prospect of death assured that comfort will be a priority, that their values and decisions will be respected and that both their physical and the spiritual needs will be addressed,” said Brenda Cooper, Lonesome Pine Hospital’s vice president of clinical services and operations. “It is an important and necessary aspect of healthcare.

“The people served by Lonesome Pine are fortunate to have physicians willing to undergo the necessary education and training to excel at this type of care giving.”

Two physicians with Medical Associates of Southwest Virginia recently earned certification from the American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Family practitioners Gary Scott Williams, MD, and Mark Taylor, MD, each recently passed a comprehensive examination to join the more than 1,500 other physicians in North America who have earned this certification.

Eligibility requirements for hospice and palliative medicine certification are significant. To be eligible to take the examination, applicants must receive prior major specialty certification, practice at least two years following residency, work as a member of an interdisciplinary team for at least two years and have directly participated in the active care of at least 50 terminally ill patients in the preceding three years.

Dr. Williams has been certified by the American Board of Family Practice and the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Taylor has been certified by the American Board of Family Practice.


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