A bright pink vase filled with yellow mums sat near the window, belying the grim task facing the healthcare workers at Beth Israel Medical Center who had clustered around a conference table.
"This has been really sad," said the Rev. Robert Chodo Campbell, a large man with thick brows who was wearing what appeared to be a cross between a judo outfit and hospital scrubs. He told the group that when faced with a similar case in the past, he had decided to disclose his personal battle with alcoholism to the patient -- also an alcoholic -- in hopes of spurring a conversation that might help ease the man's mental anguish and prepare him for whatever lay ahead;"Is that a good technique?" asked a doctor, sounding slightly incredulous.