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Wining and Dying...

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Score one for the French.

The Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital in central France will soon open a wine bar for its terminally ill patients, who will be allowed to partake in medically supervised tastings with family and friends, reports Yahoo News. The rationale is to improve quality of life for the dying and the menu is expected to include local wines, champagne and even whiskey.

Personally, I say, why not? In fact, while they're at it, bring on the cigarette lounge as well...

The article quotes Veronica McLymont, director of food and nutrition services of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, who notes that some U.S. hospitals will tolerate giving alcohol to terminal patients though none she knows of have an actual wine bar on premise.

Perhaps it's time to start.

In the past decade or so, American hospitals, including Sloan Kettering, have made dramatic strides in improving the patient experience by offering higher quality meal options and on-demand room service. That's great for those expecting to go home. For those who won't, perhaps it's time to extend a separate level of amenity and if it includes something as fairly tame as a glass of wine, what's the harm (yes, I know the serving of alcohol poses special hurdles ranging from licensing to security and liability issues, but they're hardly insurmountable...)

I'd be interested in your thoughts on this issue. If you want to weigh in, please leave a comment below.

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Mike Buzalka

Mike Buzalka is executive features editor of Food Management and has served the magazine in this capacity since 1998. Before that, he was executive editor of The Foodservice..
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