When John Middleton, M.D., joined Carroll Hospice in November 2016, he split his time between guiding our mission and caring for his own patients at his Carroll County family medicine practice. Now, after 35 years as a primary care provider, Dr. Middleton is retiring from his practice to become Carroll Hospice’s first full-time medical director.
“As a family doctor, I had to wear a lot of different hats—from pediatrician to internist,” says Dr. Middleton. “The training that I had was so unique. It puts me at a place where I’m able to look at the entire patient, their needs and their family’s needs. I’ve really learned that the health of one of us affects the entire family and even the community as a whole.”
Long-term and hospice care have always been a passion for Dr. Middleton. He believes that caring for an individual through the end of his or her life is a privilege, and he wants to celebrate the lives of his patients with their families.
“Hospice care wraps its arms around an entire family,” he explains. “Getting people to recognize that we’re celebrating someone’s life, not dreading their death, is a very beautiful and uplifting experience. If we focus on the meaning of that person’s life, what that person meant to every individual that’s a part of their life, we get a whole different view of hospice care.”
While he looks forward to transitioning to a full-time role with Carroll Hospice, this change means leaving his family medicine practice that he established in 1983. But it’s his admiration for the Carroll Hospice staff and volunteers that makes him confident it’s the right move.
“It is a tough decision to retire from my practice after 35 years,” says Dr. Middleton. “But hospice is a calling, it’s not a job. The people who involve themselves with hospice are very special, and I am so proud to be part of that team.”