Dr. Joe Pagliarello receives lifetime achievement award for organ donation


Ottawa Hospital surgeon helped make it possible for people to donate organs after heart stops

Dr. Joe Pagliarello, a surgeon and intensive care specialist at The Ottawa Hospital, has received a lifetime achievement award for helping restore organ donation from people who hearts have stopped. (CBC News)

An Ottawa surgeon has received a lifetime achievement award from the Trillium Gift of Life Network for helping redefine Canada's organ donation system.

Specifically, Dr. Joe Pagliarello helped make it possible for people whose hearts had stopped — known as cardiocirculatory death — to donate their organs.

Since the 1960s and 1970s, only people who were brain dead and whose hearts were still beating were able to give organs.

But that changed in 2006 when Ottawa resident Sarah Beth Therien, 32, died suddenly. Pagliarello told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning Friday that pushing the case for her donation eligibility was a team effort.

"With a little persuasion from [Sarah Beth's father] Emile and his family, and some persistence on our part, and some co-operation and collaboration from all levels of administration ... we were given the go-ahead to do this," he said. Continue reading