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Cardiovascular Medicine, Pediatrics, Stanford News

Pediatric social worker discusses the emotional side of heart transplants

Pediatric social worker discusses the emotional side of heart transplants

Speaking of heart transplants, Mary Burge, a pediatric heart transplant social worker at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, was on Talk of the Nation yesterday. In case you missed the segment, Burge discussed her work helping parents process the news that their child will need a new heart and providing support for families before and after the procedure.

She also commented on how getting a new heart can be a particularly emotional experience - more so than other types of transplant procedures -because of how the organ is viewed culturally:

In some ways I think it’s an unthinkable situation in life to consider getting someone else’s heart put into your body. People ascribe all kinds of emotions to the heart that they don’t, say, to the kidney or the liver. The heart is supposed to be the seat of feelings and love and emotion and spirituality. And changing your heart for the heart of someone else has – is more emotionally charged, I think, in many ways than, say, getting a kidney transplant, which is also very traumatic.

Previously: Social worker is a pioneer for children’s hearts
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