Dr. Marietjie Slabbert is a specialist physician in critical care medicine and anesthesiology at the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia. She is also the Regional Medical Director for Organ Donation in Northern Health, playing a key role in advancing organ donation within the health authority.
What is your role in organ donation and transplant?
As regional medical director for organ donation in Northern Health, I advocate for organ donation by raising awareness and through education. A critical aspect of my work is ensuring that there are no missed organ donation opportunities within the region.
What makes you passionate about organ donation?
I value organ donation because it isn't just any ordinary gift; it is the greatest gift we get to offer in this life. This has and continues to motivate me as a healthcare professional to stay dedicated and committed to this field. By virtue of my job, I get to see firsthand how a decision made by one can relieve the suffering of so many; not just those who need a transplant, but their loved ones too. I feel honoured to work with people who make the decision to give life, and the miraculous consequence of that decision is something that moves me the same way, every time, after all my years in this profession.
I consider it to be a great privilege to work with organ donors, and I see each one of these people in the same light—as heroes.
What's your perspective on being part of 50 years of organ donation and transplant in BC? What are you most proud of?
I think this is a great milestone and I'm excited about the next 50 years. As part of the medical field of transplant in BC, it adds so much value to our work, when we think about the number of lives that have been positively affected within just 50 years. I'm very proud of the fact that we can offer organ donation as a feasible option for our patients here in Northern BC and help fulfil their wishes to be able to donate their organs if they choose.
I'm proud of BC for its commitment to supporting the growth of this field of intervention, and BC Transplant for the role it has played in unifying all the different regional programs throughout the years, giving our community a strong platform to grow from.
What does Operation Popcorn mean to you?
Operation Popcorn is a great way of creating more awareness around organ donation and a tangible way of seeing what good it does. When patients come back to visit us each year looking healthy and happy , it reminds us as healthcare professionals why we do what we do. We are humans too, and the thought that comes along with these beautifully decorative boxes of popcorn every year makes us feel special and respected.