Alive Hospice founders Dr. David and Lynn Barton (Nashville Business Journal)

They changed how we die: A life of bringing dignity to the end for others

“Nearly 40 years ago, Dr. David Barton, his wife Lynn and a group of friends, colleagues and associates with varied backgrounds gathered in the Bartons’ West Nashville home to discuss ways they could improve the care of people suffering from terminal illness. David Barton, a psychiatrist with a lifelong interest in adaptation to illness, and colleague Dr. John Flexner had noticed an “avoidance phenomenon,” in which doctors were uncomfortable establishing the relationships needed for effective treatment of terminal patients. At the time, Barton said, there was a lot of “energy” about doing something to address end-of-life care, but little had actually been accomplished.

So the Bartons and Flexner brought together a group with medical, psychological and religious backgrounds — along with a patient and family member coping with terminal illness — and set about coming up with a new way of doing things. In 1975, David Barton and Flexner officially founded Alive Hospice, the oldest community-based hospice program in the state, and the largest in Middle Tennessee.”

Read on for more from Nashville Business Journal about the way Dr. David Barton and Lynn Barton helped bring dignity to end-of-life care.

Click here to read more about their recent honor of being 2022 Sage Award recipients.