Carroll Hospice
Meet Carroll Hospice Medical Director John Middleton, M.D.

In November 2016, Carroll Hospice welcomed John Middleton, M.D., as its new medical director.

How did you become involved in hospice care?

I have been involved in long-term and end-of-life care for my entire medical career. I have spent the last 35 years in primary care with an emphasis on long-term care and rehab services.  As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a variety of hospice services. I have become increasingly frustrated with the care that our elderly and dying receive. The indignities that they suffer in their last months, years even, has caused me a personal dissatisfaction that I have strived to correct. I would say my colleagues and our population in general are, many times, unaware of alternative care other than traditional Western medicine, which emphasizes “living and beating disease” over quality, dignity and choice. Only the individual should be allowed to make this choice; our job is to help others understand and accept that choice.

Why is hospice’s mission of providing quality end-of-life care important to you?
I watched my father die of end-stage congestive heart failure. It is extremely humbling to feel so helpless, watching someone I love suffer so much. No morphine or hospice care was available at that time; the hospice movement was still in its infancy. At that time, I had no experience with hospice care. It left an indelible print on my mind—that I could and would try to bring comfort to people to the best of my ability, which also became my own personal mission. Hospice’s mission is my mission, and if I have the capability of relieving people’s distress in their time of greatest need, I have succeeded.

What do you hope to bring to the patients and families of Carroll Hospice?
It is my hope to make some small contribution in changing how the dying process is viewed, making it a condition that is not so fearful and intimidating as people currently feel—that death is to be defeated or ignored. I hope to make the public more aware that they do not have to continue with care that makes them sicker and the rest of their life miserable, that they can choose dignity and peace. It is also my hope to bring greater public awareness and encourage people to look at all options available to them. For educational purposes, I encourage my patients and their families to use the Internet to learn about the natural history of any terminal illness to validate the information, risks and benefits of those treatment options.