eCampus In the Division of General Medical Disciplines
About the Film

This short film (13 minutes) tells the real life story of Jim Ray Cooper and his experiences during the last six years of his life with advanced lung disease. Mr. Cooper was a Navy Frogman in the Korean War. The frogmen were predecessors for the modern day Navy Seals. Frogman training requires much higher levels of fitness, and during the course there is often a high elimination rate of trainees who do not make the grade. Mr. Cooper held a record for holding his breath for five minutes! It was indeed ironic that he developed severe lung disease and was chronically breathless and oxygen dependant.

In 2005, Mr. Cooper was told that he was dying of advanced lung disease and that he had less than six months to live. At that time, he was suffering with severe breathlessness and pain and was terrified that he was going to suffocate to death as his lung disease worsened.

Mr. Cooper was referred to Dr. Periyakoil's Palliative Care Clinic for pain and symptom management. Dr. Periyakoil and her team began providing intensive palliative care and were able to control his pain, depression, breathlessness, PTSD and other distressing symptoms. Once his symptoms were under control, Jim regained his desire to live and spent the last six years of his life with his family.

As palliative care experts had helped him live longer and feel better, Mr. Cooper became passionately committed to increasing public awareness of this new and important medical sub-specialty. To this end, he asked Dr. Periyakoil to film his final years and use his story to teach patients, their families and health care personnel about the process of serious illness and the benefits of palliative care. He was particularly committed to facilitating access to Palliative Care for seriously ill Veterans and their families.

Mr. Cooper passed away in 2010 and we are releasing this film in honor of his memory for Memorial Day 2011.

About Palliative Care

About 1.7 million Americans die of chronic illness every year (Source: CDC.gov). Most Americans die suffering from pain and other symptoms as they do not have access to Palliative Care.

Palliative Care is specialized medical care focused on relief of suffering and support for best possible quality of life for anyone with any type or stage of serious illness.

Palliative Care specialists relieve suffering by treating the person's pain and all other distressing symptoms (breathlessness, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, anxiety, depression etc.). They also provide support to family members of seriously ill patients.

Excellent Palliative Care makes people feel better. When they feel better, they often live longer.

Please Note

This documentary was featured in the Stanford School of Medicine SCOPE blog and School of Medicine YouTube channel (and can be viewed on mobile devices).

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