Interview Date



Dr. Martinson recalls her career in children dying at home beginning after a backyard conversation with her neighbor and mentor Dr. John Kersey. Dr. Kersey had mentioned that a child with cancer was going to be admitted to the hospital to die. Dr. Martinson questioned the "common practice" of admitting patients who were actively dying to the hospital. After that conversation, she was drafted by Dr. Kersey to assist in the same child's healthcare. Dr. Martinson then describes her experience with preforming one of the first documented case studies of supporting a child to die at home with their family. She relates her motivation to help the child die with dignity at home to her own profound experience with helping her father in-law pass at home surrounded by family. Dr. Martinson describes her early experiences with clinicians who offered some resistance and skepticism about allowing children to die at home, but she also states that she was supported by most physicians. Dr. Martinson continues by describing how she continued her work to allow other children to die at home and how she grew the practice of dying at home by making herself available for other nurses and health care professionals internationally. Dr. Martinson then mentions the complexities of maintaining and growing her research in the field of dying at home. She concludes with her vision of the field growing to incorporate community medicine and respite care into priorities for healthcare teams for children suffering with chronic diseases.


Pediatric Palliative Care Oral History Project


Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University in St. Louis