Lehigh Valley

Doctor cycles across Pa. to raise awareness of hospice care

Dealing with a terminal illness can be overwhelming and hard to talk about. One local doctor wants to encourage people to talk more about hospice and palliative care, so he's strapping on a bike helmet.

Dr. Ric Baxter spends a lot of time talking to his hospice patients about the importance of time, and when dealing with a terminal illness, the lack of it.

"We have an opportunity to make them help them feel better physically, we have the opportunity to help them to define what's really meaningful and important for them as things start to change in their life," Baxter said.

It's a conversation Baxter says more people should be having much earlier, so he's doing something about it.

"I figured an old guy riding a bicycle around the state would get somebody's attention," Baxter said.

Baxter will be cycling across the state from one St. Luke's University Health Network facility to another in September.

He raises awareness of hospice and palliative care and how to help patients and their families.

Two of Kate McNally's family members were Baxter's patients. McNally says he says she's glad Baxter is taking the conversation on the road.

"You're sort of at wit's end knowing what to do for your loved one so it's nice to have someone come in and kind of take that so you can be with your loved one," McNally said.

Baxter says in the end that's the only thing that really matters.

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