Bridgeport Hospital, NEMG expand palliative care for cancer patients

michael kopf 

Michael Kopf, MD


Bridgeport Hospital and Yale New Haven Health’s Northeast Medical Group (NEMG) have expanded their palliative care for cancer patients with the addition of Michael Kopf, MD, at Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Centers of Fairfield County. Located in Fairfield and at Park Avenue Medical Center in Trumbull, Dr. Kopf leads a palliative care team that provides care for patients who have serious cancer-related illnesses.

Dr. Kopf completed his Yale School of Medicine residency at Danbury Hospital in 2014 and fellowship training in Hematology/Oncology at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences Center in Brooklyn, NY in 2017. He then completed a fellowship in Palliative Medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York in 2018. He joined the medical staffs of Bridgeport Hospital and NEMG in 2019.

A medical subspecialty that has attracted increasing attention in recent years, palliative care focuses on improving quality of life for both the patient and family by relieving the pain, stress, physical and emotional symptoms caused by serious illness. It can be provided in any setting, at any age and at any stage of illness. It can go hand in hand with care for specific diseases or conditions such as chemotherapy, surgery or radiation treatments.

“We welcome all patients who may need additional support during their oncologic disease course. Cancer patients frequently have unmet palliative care needs,” said Dr. Kopf, who developed the palliative care program at Park Avenue Medical Center.

“A palliative care team can help people understand their illness and care options, and guide decisions so the care is best for the individual patient,” said Kristin Edwards, MD, Bridgeport Hospital’s medical director of Palliative Care. “Think of palliative care as an extra layer of support for those with serious illness.”

Dr. Edwards notes that palliative care is not the same as end-of-life care but rather anything aimed at relief of symptoms and suffering from serious illness. The palliative care team includes physicians, nurses, social workers and chaplains. Other caregivers may be needed, such as physical and occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, music and art therapists, and child life specialists, to name a few.

Any physician can refer their cancer patients to palliative care at any stage of illness, even from the initial diagnosis. It helps to not only treat suffering but also anticipate and prevent further pain.

Patients who have a serious cancer-related illness can be referred by placing an outpatient referral order to Northeast Medical Group Palliative Care – Trumbull.

For more information, call 203-384-3388 or visit bridgeporthospital.org/cancer.