Your recent editorial ("Health systems must grapple with difficult end-of-life issues," June 15, p. 54) was of great interest to me and my associates here at Beth Israel's Hyman-Newman Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery.
The institute's multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers and child life specialists have created a special place of hope and healing for children and adults who come to us from around the world with challenging neurological problems. While patients and their families find comfort in our supportive setting, the intimacy of our approach brings our staff even closer to their suffering, which is all the more keen when our patients are young children with brain and spinal cord injuries.
We're always looking for creative ways to help relieve stress among our staff. Recently, the institute sponsored an inno-vative East/West medical conference. Over the course of this remarkable day, I was privileged to participate with the 14th Dalai Lama and more than 20 experts in a dialogue about the potentially healing effects of Indo-Tibetan meditation. Our plan is to work with Tibetan monks to develop a multilevel meditation program at the institute.
Your editorial calls for top management to support open communication in coping with suffering and death. Beth Israel's extensive pastoral-care program and the recent establishment of one of the first hospital-based pain medicine and palliative-care departments exemplify ways a hospital can reach out to patients and their families as well as physicians and staff.
Fred Epstein, M.D.
Chairman, department of neurology
Beth Israel Medical Center