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Dr. Josefina B. Magno, 83; Pioneer of Hospice Care for Dying Patients in the U.S.

August 03, 2003|Elaine Woo | Times Staff Writer

At times, she found that the best way she could help had nothing to do with drugs or physical comforts.

One time, Magno recounted, she received frantic calls from the family of a 42-year-old woman named Florence who was dying of lung cancer. Although Magno had given her strong drugs to relieve her physical pain, the woman was still moaning and screaming.

Sensing that Florence feared facing God for something she had done in her past, Magno, a devout Roman Catholic, asked her, "Do you want me to pray with you?"

The woman soon calmed down.

On a subsequent visit, the doctor prayed with Florence for God's forgiveness. When she finished praying, the woman grew very quiet; she died peacefully half an hour later. Magno told a reporter later that Florence gave her her first glimpse of a dying person's spiritual pain.

"She has been, in my mind, one of the most talented bedside physicians I have ever seen," Pastore said of Magno.

"When she went to the bedside of a patient, you could see the difference immediately. She had such warmth and such compassion and so much common sense. This truly was an extraordinary woman."

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