As surgeons and anesthesiologists, we provide care for both transplant recipients and organ donors. The process of harvesting organs is always an emotional experience but one of the most difficult cases we have recently seen was the harvesting of organs from a young teenager who died as a result of fentanyl overdose. As health care workers, nothing can prepare us for a tragedy such as this. We cannot describe how emotionally challenging it is to harvest the organs of a perfectly healthy child who died from one mistake, a death that should not have occurred, a death that was preventable. As members of the transplant team, we have witnessed many tragic losses like this case and sadly, the number continues to rise. During the first quarter of the year, the number of fentanyl related deaths in Alberta jumped 61% compared to last year. Alberta is now in a position of declaring a public health emergency due to the increasing number of fentanyl related deaths.
The current crisis seems daunting, but we feel like anything we can do is better than doing nothing. So, we teamed up together to form “Doctors Against Tragedies” – a team of physicians, residents and medical students who are taking an innovative approach to teach the public about fentanyl use.
Our goal is to raise awareness of fentanyl related deaths and to educate the public on both the negative and positives of fentanyl use. Many social awareness campaigns rely on fear tactics. Instead, our approach is to explain what fentanyl is, how it is used in a hospital setting and the dangers of its misuse. We aim to demystify the myths about fentanyl and provide accurate information in a creative way – through playing games!
DAT is available for workshops contact us!
DAT is also here to help healthcare teams in other cities, and even in other countries, set up their own DAT local chapters! While our focus here has been on the fentanyl crisis, we are interested in helping develop social awareness campaigns for a number of important health-related issues including: sexual health, infectious diseases, social media safety, etc… Contact us!
We would like to thank the Alberta Medical Association and Canadian Medical Association for the Emerging Leaders in Health Promotion Grant that helped kickstart this initiative. We would also like to thank the Edmonton Community Foundation for their support of this campaign.
We are currently in need of more funding. If you are interested in being a sponsor or know of any grants/funding opportunities that we can apply to, please send us a message.
Inspired by the game “Cards Against Humanity“.