I think Hitchens said that he wouldn´t go around preaching his beliefs (or lack thereof) to people on their last legs, and hoped that religious people would afford him the same courtesy. I feel the same about preaching to people with chronic illnesses such as ME. Perhaps when we are all better (whether that is in this life or a theoretical ´next life´) we can have a no-holds barred discussion of religion and atheism (obviously it would be much simpler if it took place in a future life).
He was a very funny and brilliant man. I also agree......no one should preach to someone who is sick. They need practical help, comfort, and a way to move on