Deceased doctor a strong advocate for end of life care

The tragic death of a South Charleston doctor leaves many shaking their heads.

Kanawha County deputies say Dr. Bruce Foster and his wife were found dead in their Cross Lanes home Monday, both dead of a single gunshot wound to the head. Investigators say it appears to be a murder-suicide.

It’s an ironic death for a man who spent much of his life attempting to stem the prolonged suffering of others.

“It’s hard for me to imagine him dying the way he did with his great concern for excellent pain and symptom management at the end of life,” said Dr. Alvin Moss at the West Virginia Center for End of Life Care. “I”m shocked and I’m saddened.”

Foster was a general practitioner in the Kanawha Valley and according to Moss had a keen interest in medical ethics and end of life care.

“He took a special interest in ethics and end of life care,” Moss said. “He was an advocate for having patients talk to their families about the types of treatments they would or would not know at the end of life and to put those wishes into writing so they could be respected.”

Moss served in an advisory role to the West Virginia Center for End of Life Care when it was first established and helped in the required training of physicians needing to certify with a certain level of end of life training.

“He was just a delightful guy to talk to. He had a jovial manner, always had good stories to tell, he was one of those guys with a twinkle in his eye and a cheery smile,” Moss said. “It’s interesting he really loved his father and learned a lot about death and dying from experiences with his father’s death.”

Police say a revolver was in Dr. Foster’s hand when their bodies were found. A firearms trace is being conducted and detectives are awaiting the results of that trace to determine ownership of the gun.

According to police, no suicide note or similar instrument was found at the residence. A possible motive has not been released as the investigation continues.

What prompted Dr. Foster’s untimely demise may never be known.

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