The Patient "Failed" or Did She? How a Transplantation Patient and a Donor's Unmet Psychosocial Needs Became the Catalyst for Change

  • Joan Berzoff Professor and Co-Director of the Doctoral Program, Smith College School of Social Work, Northhampton, MA


In 1995, my beloved sister, a social worker, died from complications after two bone marrow transplants. This narrative addresses the absence of needed psychosocial services before, during, and after transplantation for my sister and for me, her donor. While these unmet needs were disempowering at the time, subsequently I have become a policy advocate for psychosocial services for bone marrow transplant patients and their families. The narrative describes the events as they occurred my sister, the patient, and to me, her donor before, during, and after the process of transplantation.


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