On Organ Donation and Patient Wishes

by Katie Macaluso, AAHPM Quarterly Managing Editor

If you’re a member of AAHPM, you should be spotting a copy of the fall issue of AAHPM Quarterly in your mailbox any day now (if it hasn’t arrived already). Pick up this issue to learn more about the 2012 Annual Assembly, certification deadlines, advocacy efforts, and where palliative care falls in the readmissions boom (a feature article by Larry Beresford).

One standout article in the fall issue is “A Lasting Gift: Organ Donation” by Lucille Marchand, MD BSN. In this Art of Caring column, Dr. Marchand discusses one patient’s struggle to plan for organ donation upon his death. The patient was diagnosed with end-stage amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and hoped to find meaning in his early death through the gift of organ donation. As the patient and his hospice team worked to develop a plan that would allow for a comfortable death for him and the successful harvesting of organs, it became clear that too many risk factors might prevent organ donation from being a viable option for him. Read the full article here.

Helping patients achieve their final wishes is so important to all involved in the interdisciplinary team. Have you encountered a similar situation to this one? How was it resolved? Do you have advice for your colleagues in hospice and palliative medicine?

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