Family member describes benefits of Suncoast Hospice care

William A. Lee and Dorothy Herring-Lee

By Karen Davis-Pritchett M.Ed., Empath Health Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

For more than two years, I have been privileged to inform readers about the care and services Empath Health and its affiliate organizations provide in the community. I thought it might be meaningful for the next few articles to let those who have benefited from those services share their stories.

Today, I’d like to introduce Dorothy Herring-Lee, whose husband, William A. Lee, was a Suncoast Hospice patient before he passed away on July 25, 2003. She was gracious enough to answer a few questions about how Suncoast Hospice helped her and her family through an extremely difficult period.

Q: How did you hear about Suncoast Hospice services for your loved one?

Herring-Lee: My husband was being treated by Dr. J. Andrew Petersen, an oncologist. After we received his diagnosis, his prognosis was not favorable (three to six months to live). The treatments did not yield a positive change, and my late husband decided not to proceed with additional treatments. We reached out to Suncoast Hospice per his doctor’s recommendation.

Q: Which Suncoast Hospice support was the most helpful for you and your family?

Herring-Lee: Everyone was so helpful and supportive, but I must say the nurse, P.R. of the Blue team assigned to my husband during the entire stint of his care, was most supportive. She educated me on the many services such as social workers, physical therapists and home health care. She was so loving to our entire family and even spoke at his homegoing service.

Q: What do you want to share about your Suncoast Hospice experience with our communities?

Herring-Lee: Although my world had been turned upside down, and I had no clue as to how or what I was going to do, Suncoast Hospice was by my side the entire time. They guided me through the entire process. That level of support is very important during such a difficult time. 

Q: What was something that you learned about Suncoast Hospice that you didn’t know until they started taking care of your loved one?

Herring-Lee: Twenty years ago, they were truly a blessing to my family. I didn’t know anything about Suncoast Hospice prior to my husband’s oncologist referring us.

Q: What would you like to share with families that may need Suncoast Hospice services?

Herring-Lee: I would encourage them to explore their options and, at bare minimum, schedule a meeting to explore what options are available. Suncoast Hospice provided great support to my late husband and our family. I am appreciative of their grief support services as well. I currently serve on my church’s homegoing ministry, which provides support to members of our congregation during their time of loss. I have referred so many families to Empath for grief services. It’s so important for our community to seek knowledge of resources that are available to us.

To learn more about Suncoast Hospice, visit or call (727) 467-7423.

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