Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Help With Life and Death Choices

Palliative care guides families through the options and the agonizing decisions about loved ones.

Help With Life and Death Choices


I am always amazed - and so grateful and appreciative - when people allow us to enter their lives and share their experiences with hundreds of thousands of newspaper readers. The gracious family of Mary Tole is one of them.

Today, in the first in an occasional series of stories on health care by Inquirer writer Michael Vitez, we read how Mary's family faced difficult choices. Like most Americans, they had heard the noise all summer in the media over "death panels" and "pulling the plug on Grandma."

Click on my picture above of Beth Anne Tole in the Abington Memorial Hospital room with her seventy four year old mother Mary Tole - or here for a gallery of more photos. Click here to read Mike's Sunday story.

I have been working with Mike at the hospital as he tells  the story of Mary and her family - and many others in what will be an ongoing series - documenting life at Abington Memorial to show how one hospital deals with the biggest issues in health care at this critical time.

Inquirer Staff Photographer
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About this blog

Tom Gralish is a general assignment photographer at The Inquirer, concentrating on local news and self-generated feature photos.

He has been at the paper since 1983, photographing everything from revolution in the Philippines to George W. Bush’s road to the White House to homeless people living on the street right outside his newspaper's front door. For his photo essay on Philadelphia’s homeless, he was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Award.

His weekly newspaper column, "Scene Through the Lens," takes a look at Philadelphia's urban landscape.

Gralish, along with Inquirer colleague and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Vitez, spent a year visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art to capture the stories and photos of "Rocky runners" who come from all over the world to climb the steps - just as Sylvester Stallone did in the Academy Award winning film, Rocky. Their book, Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps, was published in November 2006.

Reach Tom at

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
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