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PsychoSocial Oncology Task Force
University of California , Irvine
Clinical Professor Medicine, Ethics, Volunteer
M.D.Anderson, Houston, TX
Special Fellow, Radiation Oncology
B. S. degree
M. D. degree
University of Maryland
University of California
Council on Aging of Orange County
C. Ronald Koons, MD, FACPC. Ronald Koons, MD, received his B. S. degree from Purdue University in 1951, his M. D. degree from the University of Maryland in 1955 and his M.M.Sc. degree from Ohio State in 1957.He served two years in the U. S. Navy at Bethesda, Maryland in Nuclear Medicine.He became Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Radiation Therapy.As Assistant Professor he taught at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with joint appointments in cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy.He was a Special Fellow in Radiation Therapy at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Institute in Houston, Texas.He was the prime developer of the Mountain States Tumor Institute in Boise, Idaho was a model community cancer center for the next five years.He is and has been on the clinical faculty of the University of California, Irvine for over 20 years as Associate, and now Clinical Professor.He currently is Chair of the Ethics Committee and Co-Chair of the Palliative Care Task Force at the University Medical Center.He has also been a part-time physician for three hospices in Orange County.He is a co-facilitator for a support group of patients with serious and/or life threatening disease, and counsels patients and families about cancer and its management.He is a colon cancer supervisor and speaks to lay and professional groups about cancer, how to communicate with physicians, and how to talk with family and friends.He is a speaker for the American Cancer Society Orange County Unit.He recently was appointed a member of Consumer Advocates in Research Related Activities (CARRA), a part of the NCI's Director's Consumer Liaison Group educating the public about the National Cancer Institute's activities and resources.
Dr. Ronald Koons, 73, makes end-of-life care his mission. November 30, 2001 Dr. Ronald Koons is a spiritual man.When he looks at the complexities of life, the biology of a human being, he concludes, with a sense of wonder, that "there must be a higher power that put it together." He also is committed to the concept of assisted suicide for the terminally ill, a moral issue that pits him against the U.S. attorney general, the Catholic Church and many Americans who view assisted suicide as euthanasia. "Ashcroft and others insist that assistance in dying is harming a patient," Koons says.At 73, Koons has been talking to the dying about their death for more than three decades. Quietly, confidently, the retired radiation oncologist has explored the inevitable with more than 3,500 patients.Koons has been there with those who will not survive.Koons has made it his mission to help the dying and their loved ones understand death as the final celebration of life.His friends say he has improved end-of-life care for all Californians. "Tell me how you are doing?"he privately asks a terminally ill woman in his Saddleback Hospital support group."What is not going as well as you would like?What do you hope to accomplish?What's the worst thing this disease is doing to you?" He listens."He is extremely caring, and he is honest," says Cookie Yacolino, whose husband, Tony, is a cancer patient."People like Koons appreciate the cultural impact of communication, and that is a major, major contribution." Koons is not afraid to stand up and be counted, says Mike White, head of Compassion in Dying in Los Angeles.Still, there are those - members of the clergy, other physicians - who view Koons as less than saintly. Ten years ago, when physician-assisted suicide was introduced as a California initiative, Koons was the sole Orange County doctor who would be quoted in the newspapers as supporting the issue. While the measure was narrowly defeated in California, the concept of easing pain and paying attention to the needs of the dying gained momentum. California legislators this year decided physicians must have pain management and end-of-life care training. "Californians will have more and better care at the end of their lives because of people like Ron Koons," White says. Koons went into medicine to focus on the living.At Ohio State University, he specialized in internal medicine.As part of his Navy duties at Bethesda, Md., he spent four years in nuclear medicine, as it was called in the 1960s. After his years of service, he was invited to join the Johns Hopkins University "cancer team" where he was among the pioneer physicians in a new speciality called "chemotherapists." During the 1960s, "We studied the drugs used in cancer treatment," Koons says."Since I was already certified in internal medicine, I decided to get certified in radiation oncology and went to Houston to train for that specialty." Koons graduated with cutting-edge knowledge just as the national focus turned to cancer and cancer treatments. He could have returned to Johns Hopkins, a move, he concedes today, "that might have been better for me.Maybe I should have stayed in academic medicine." Instead, he chose an opportunity in Boise, Idaho, establishing the nation's first cancer center to be funded by the 1971 Cancer Act. Until Koons arrived, Idaho residents went outside the state for cancer treatment.His center, deemed a national model, offered counselors to work with the family and the patient. "We physicians would tell the medical side of the story, and the counselors would give us the social side," he says.Kubler-Ross, author of the classic study "On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy and Their Own Families," spoke at his seminar and became a lifelong friend. Dr. Ronald Koons advises people to fill out advance-directive forms regarding how much end-of-life care they want.Filling out the advance-directive requires naming an agent to act in your behalf if you are incapacitated by illness or accident. You should discuss what treatment you want with your agent, Koons says.He also advises being explicit about aggressive treatment if faced with life-threatening situations, such as a severe stroke. The physician also should know your wishes, he says. It is legal - if the patient requests it - to withhold food and water.Physicians do not believe people suffer if comfort care is provided. For general information contact: • Area Agency on Aging, (714) 637-5100.
January 21, 2014, Ronald Koons, MD, FACP, UCI Clinical Professor of Medicine; Member, Ethics Committee; "The Science of Medicine and the Art of Medicine".
September 15, 1998; C. Ronald Koons, M.D., Radiation Oncologi Professor, Ethici UCI: "Living and Dying: of Medicine and Ethics in Hospice Care."
Caring For the Person, Not Just the Patient
C. Ronald Koons, M.D., FACP
PsychoSocial Oncology Task Force
The Best Way to Say Goodbye - Testimonials
-- C. Ronald Koons, MD, FACP; Clinical Professor, Radiation Oncology and Medicine; Chair, Ethics Committee; University of California, Irvine Medical Center
I have worked as an emergency department physician for over 30 years and seen a great many people die... some directly under my care, others after periods of care by my colleagues.