Dr. Dangel begins the interview describing his experiences as a pediatric anesthesiologist witnessing children dying while receiving unnecessary aggressive treatment during the end-of-life. He also describes several pivotal experiences learning about and seeing other countries develop pediatric hospices. When he brought back his experiences to his home institution, he was not well received and consequently left to seek an environment to nurture his vision for pediatric palliative and hospice care. Dr. Dangel comments that this was not his first time bringing new ideas into Polish medicine since he "introduced the modern techniques of regional anesthesia and analgesia in children," in the 1980s. He then mentions that he was more than comfortable making the "conscious choice" to have his own "splendid isolation from the inhumane hospital medicine." He then describes the barriers he faced and overcame, such as lack of funding, training gaps for clinicians, no transportation for his staff, failing personal health, a research block from the ethnical committees in Poland, and "single case of malpractice at the medical court for using the ketogenic diet, which I designed for my hospice patient". Dr. Dangel goes on to describe his work in leading Polish medicine to establishing pediatric palliative and hospice care through his work in policy, peer-reviewed studies, publications, and books, public outreach, and coaching of other professionals. He also describes some of his biggest challenges today being lack of cooperation from the Polish government, lack of official accreditation, and government blocks on some palliative practices. He then also describes the strengths of the current Polish practices of pediatric palliative and hospice to be the establishment of the Warsaw Hospice for Children Foundation who provide supportive services and organizational outreach as well as Polish societal values. Finally, Dr. Dangel describes his vision for the future of pediatric and hospice care to be recognized as a branch of medicine in Poland, increase clinician knowledge and competency of palliative practices, increase the awareness and palliative training of other disciplines, such as gynecologists and obstetricians, establish a national research center, establish a journal of pediatric and perinatal palliative care, and to increase pediatric palliative and hospice consults with experts and ethics committees.
Pediatric Palliative Care Oral History Project
Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University in St. Louis
"Tomasz Dangel Oral History." (2019). OH154-S07-i01, Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University in St. Louis.