Why Donate Organs and Tissues and Blood?

June 16, 2014
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Guest Information

Episode Description

Emile Therien and his wife Beth are passionate spokespersons for organ, tissue and blood donation. He tells us the story of their daughter, Sarah Beth, who died of sudden cardiac arrest in June, 2006. He explains why he and his wife are passionate spokespersons for donations, and describes the benefits they see from these donations when made after cardiocirculatory death. He highlights the challenges and concerns that are expressed by potential donors and families, that seem to conflict with some family caregiving traditions, that are featured by the media, and that may hold back donations of organs, tissues and blood after cardiocirculatory death. He discusses ways of responding to the challenges. He says what more he and his wife Beth would like to do and see done, and by whom, to respond to the challenges and concerns. He shares his message for family caregivers who are asked to make decisions associated with donations of organs, tissues and blood after cardiocirculatory death.

Family Caregivers Unite!

Family Caregivers Unite!

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Family caregivers are the people who provide care to partners, parents, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, neighbors and even co-workers. They are the people who provide care when everyone else has gone home. They are the people who organize the functioning of the home for the person with special needs, and for the family as a whole. They are the coordinators of care, the managers of appointments, the preventers of loneliness, and the makers of decisions even to the point of Power of Attorney. And they are so often people who themselves are burdened with their own health challenges and who may be in only marginally better health than the persons to whom they are providing family caregiving.

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Dr. Gordon Atherley

Dr. Gordon Atherley

Dr Gordon Atherley holds the British equivalent of the Canadian PhD and MD degrees, and LLD, Honoris Causa, from Canada’s Simon Fraser University. His awards include Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK. His medical specialties are occupational medicine and public health.
As first President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, the Canadian equivalent of the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, he led the creation of Canada’s electronic information service in occupational health and safety, now used in more than 40 countries.
In academia, he held senior, tenured, full-time positions, including departmental chair, in university faculties of physics, engineering, and medicine. He is the author of a textbook and numerous articles and publications.

Since retiring from medical practice, he’s built up Greyhead Associates, which critically researches the safety, effectiveness and fairness of health services for persons with special needs.
Through Virtual Care International, a company of which he’s President, he’s involved in providing sensible technology to family caregivers to help them with their responsibilities, workloads, and concerns.
Now an activist, he urges family caregivers to unite because, more and more, it’s not just their families who depend on them, it’s also the healthcare system as a whole, as it struggles to meet more and more needs of more and more people.

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