As a general, colorectal surgeon and intensive care unit (ICU) physician at the Valley Regional Hospital (VRH) in Kentville, Dr. Paul Yaffe works with patients and families everyday whose lives have been impacted by serious and sometimes sudden illness.
Tammy Ripley spent 90 days on the transplant wait list. She remembers every detail from the day she found out she would be receiving a heart transplant, right up until the moment she came out of surgery.
Her Last Project, a film that chronicles a remarkable woman’s end-of-life journey, premieres on Friday, Sept. 13 as part of the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival’s documentary program. This extraordinary documentary follows Dr. Shelly Sarwal’s story of taking control of her destiny and leaving a lasting legacy. Diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy, an incurable disease, Dr. Shelly Sarwal chose to end her life through medical assistance in dying (MAiD) and to become an organ and tissue donor.
A lot can change in 17 years.
In 2002, Chris Fraser was a bank teller with no medical background or training. Now, he’s a registered nurse (RN) and health services manager on the intermediate Medical/Surgical Intermediate Care Unit (MSIMCU) of the Halifax Infirmary (HI).
For Rhonda Porter, comforting a grieving family after learning their loved one will pass away is an important part of being a critical care organ donation coordinator. After families go through what is often one of the worst experiences of their lives, Porter and her fellow organ donation coordinators have the tough task of educating them about the organ donation process.
Denice Klavano sits in her office at the Halifax Infirmary. A stained glass ornament in the shape of a green ribbon, a symbol for organ and tissue donation, hangs from the cork board above her work station. Her son, Brad Howell, died tragically as a result of a fork lift and army motor vehicle collision in March 2006. He was18 years old and had just recently registered as a donor.
“As someone who sees the benefits of this every day, I just ask that people have the conversation with their families,” tissue specialist Cody Duncan said. “Have the discussion, know their wishes and consider if it’s right for you. This kind of giving is so selfless and inspiring. Your decision to do so will have a lasting impact for those receiving it and their families, now and for many years to come.”