Dr. Schumacher begins the interview describing how his career plans changed after hearing "a very unbelievably moving lecture" from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in 1975. Dr. Schumacher subsequently began his clinical work in both the adult and pediatric end of life care. Dr. Schumacher then recalls that as he became more focused on pediatric hospice care, he was met with a lot of clinician resistance such as "We're not interested in pediatrics. It's just too difficult, it's too painful." Dr. Schumacher then describes transformative moments of his career such as his reflection on giving a lecture at a pediatrics conference in New York when the 2001 World Trade Center bombings occurred. He also reflects that clinician resistance to children's palliative medicine was similar to the clinician resistance toward treating patients for the HIV/AIDs during the 1980s and" 90s. After these reflective moments, Dr. Schumacher's takes discusses his role organizational management and lobbying for federal legislation. Throughout his career, Dr. Schumacher successfully advocated for children's concurrent palliative and hospice care with aggressive curative treatments to be included in the federal Affordable Care Act. Dr. Schumacher describes initial clinician resistance to children's palliative and hospice care to be one of his largest barriers in his career. He also describes his frustration with some clinicians who refused to innovate with new best practices. Dr. Schumacher concludes the interview with his dream for the new cohort of children's palliative advocates to continue working towards integrated pediatric palliative and hospice services that provide streamlined and seamless service to patients and their families.
Pediatric Palliative Care Oral History Project
Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University in St. Louis
"Donald Schumacher Oral History." (2019). OH154-S31-i01, Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University in St. Louis.