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Family Conversations About End-Of-Life Care

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NPR: The Diane Rehm Show
August 8, 2012

Talking about death and dying is never easy. Many of us cling to the childhood belief that parents are invincible. But avoiding an end-of life conversation with a loved one could have tragic consequences. It might mean a surrogate who has different values from your mother could end up making decisions for her. Or that your uncle won't qualify for Medicaid because he didn’t understand the process. Armed with basic facts and good listening skills, it's possible to create a strategy that gives a loved one comfort and provides caregivers with peace of mind. Diane and her guests explore how to begin discussions about end-of life care.


Janis Abrahms Spring -  clinical psychologist and author of "Life with Pop: Lessons on Caring for an Aging Parent" and "After the Affair."

Sue Belanger -  clinical ethicist and adjunct assistant professor at Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, and director of education, training and research at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Charles Sabatino -  director of the Commission on Law and Aging, American Bar Association.


Listen to the program audio (51:40) at NPR: The Diane Rehm Show


Rabbi sues over Pennsylvania law on funeral directors, last rites

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
August 7, 2012

An Orthodox rabbi is suing the state board of funeral directors, accusing it of violating religious freedom by insisting that licensed funeral directors oversee all funerals and burials.

The suit from Rabbi Daniel Wasserman of Shaare Torah Synagogue in Squirrel Hill was filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, in Scranton. It accuses the state board of intimidating rabbis, synagogues, Jewish families and funeral homes that work with rabbis, in a quest for profit.

The suit is "to preserve and restore the historical right of clergy to conduct religious burial and funeral rites free from interference and harassment by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and professional, secular funeral directors who serve no health or safety interest," the suit says, citing constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion.

Rabbi Wasserman "is now being threatened with civil action and criminal prosecution ... for conducting religious funerals in place of licensed funeral directors who, under color of state law, interfere in purely religious observances for no other justification than personal profit."

The suit alleges that the board has targeted Orthodox Jews rather than Amish or Quakers because Jews are perceived to have more money to spend on funerals.

Read the full article at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Thanks to The Good Funeral Guide Blog for alerting us to this article.


When tickety-boo = tangled web (The Good Funeral Guide Blog 8/8/2012)


Death Certificates?…Just how many do I need?

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The Funeral Guy
From Inside The Box
July 5, 2012

One of the many questions I get when doing a pre-planning session is “How many death certificates do I need and who needs them?”  Since every person’s estate can vary, I have created a list to help you answer that question.

Read the full article at The Funeral Guy

Last Updated ( Monday, 06 August 2012 20:08 )

Funeral Home Director Now Faces Criminal Charges

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FOX 4 News
Kansas City MO
July 30, 2012

The Missouri Attorney General is filing criminal charges against a former funeral home director in a story that FOX 4 news first started investigating two years ago.

Ron Marts is now facing ten felony charges including theft, deceptive business practices, and violating state laws about pre-need contracts. Pre-need contracts are for people who want to pre-pay for a funeral. People do it for peace of mind, but according to the Attorney General’s investigation, Marts wasn’t even licensed to sell pre-need contracts and now it appears that the money is gone.

Read the full article at FOX 4 News

Thanks to the HVCC Mortuary Science Alumni & Student Assoc for alerting us to this article.


Thanks for all the . . . Flies?

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-Josh Slocum, executive director

Keith Tomaszwesky called me about phorid flies, or "crypt flies" or "corpse flies," as they're better known. Yes, they're just what you think they are. Are they normal in a mausoleum, he wanted to know. Yes, and they're not dangerous.

But Tomaszewsky described a scene involving more than just a few flies at the Chapel of Angels and Light Mausoleum where his mother has been interred for two years. Flies all over the walls. Flies all over the religious iconography. Flies in the chalice used for communion wine.  Flies in the face of his niece while the family tried to visit grandma's crypts, causing the child to scream and beg to leave. This is not normal. Check out this report by WISN, which features an interview with Tomaszewsky—while flies land right on him during taping. Then come back for more. 

Back? OK. The mausoleum is owned by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Tomaszwewsky's mother was a devout Catholic, and while he is not, Tomaszewsky is extremely upset that his mother's body is in a sacred space overrun with buzzing flies. For 16 months, he says, he's been trying to get the Archdiocese to do something about this. So far they've only installed two ozone devices, Tomaszewsky says, when there should be at least eight. 

Last Updated ( Monday, 03 December 2012 15:27 ) Read more...

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