2006 News Stories

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Daniel Fischberg, MD, PhD, and Beth Freitas, APRN, clinical nurse specialist, have been recognized by Hospice Hawai’i for their outstanding work. Dr. Fischberg received Physician of the Year honors and Freitas the Allied Health Care Professional of 2006 Award. Both are a part of The Queen's Medical Center's Pain and Palliative Care team, which also includes Lydia Kumasaka, APRN, Joan Maeshiro, RN, Lynn Muneno, RN, Hob Osterlund, APRN, and Stacy Terashita, medical social worker. Today's broadly inclusive field of palliative care is defined as medical treatment that focuses on the prevention and relief of pain, and other symptoms and distress for people living with serious illness. Queen's is a leader in the field, and one of the few hospitals in the nation to combine the two disciplines of pain and palliative care with an extensive multi-disciplinary team approach to meet any and all of a patient's needs.

"Beyond trying to have an impact in the hospital, we need to affect care beyond our walls and within the community to build resources, networks, anything that will meet the gaps in care for people living with serious illness," says Dr. Fischberg, who is medical director of Queen's Pain and Palliative Care Department. "Palliative care really is about quality of life, about the possibilities that exist before the end-of-life."

Dr. Fischberg says that it's critical to make sure everyone involved is talking to each other, that a balance is found between the needs of the hospital and those of the patient and family. "It takes a lot of time to take really good care of people and to coordinate that care," he noted. Dr. Fischberg and Freitas see education as another key to good palliative care. Both speak in the community regularly and work with the legislature to effect important change on issues for people living with serious illness. Speaking at other hospitals, conferences, expos, luncheons, off-island or "wherever people are," they work with other health care professionals to increase awareness of options and services and help to develop skill or offer new approaches on palliative care. "We serve the clinician, the patients and of course, the families," says Dr. Fischberg. "We ask patients what it is they hope for and work with them to achieve it."

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