Patients facing terminal illness face choice between treatment or hospice

Patients facing terminal illness face choice between treatment or hospice

In the card game of life, Marvin Hinz is coming up all heart, despite being diagnosed with terminal melanoma.

“It went down on my neck and both sides, but I beat that one. That one, I beat. I was free for 15 months and then an acorn popped up on my ear,” Hinz said.

After playing all his cards with treatment and surgeries, Hinz has chosen to live the rest of his days in hospice care.

“It’s widespread, and if you find one spot and you treat it, you’ve accomplished nothing, because the other spots keep on moving,” Hinz said.

At 90, President Jimmy Carter is facing the same disease with four spots of cancer that has spread to his brain. But he has chosen to battle the cancer with radiation treatment.

“How long he will live and the quality of life, if you can stop these things from growing for a period of time, his functional status will remain as it is,” Dean Clinic Hematology and Oncology Dr. Michael Frontiera said.

Despite advancements in treatment, Frontiera said choosing treatment is not always the best option for everyone.

“Someone who is debilitated, in a wheel chair, can’t walk, they are not going to tolerate much in the way of treatment, just because it’s going to add to those things and make them even weaker. Sometimes, when someone is in such poor status, we call it poor status or functional status. You may discuss, ‘Let’s just keep you comfortable,'” he said.

Hinz has now found peace with at his new home at Agrace

“I’m enjoying having fun with them all, and they don’t let me mope and cry and stuff. They keep me as happy as they can,” he said. “I just love the care I’m getting here, and if this is my last days, I thank the good Lord for it.”