“If we keep waiting to die, then we’ll never live.”
Donald McDonah, M.D. provides compassionate care and guidance for patients facing serious and terminal illnesses. As the medical director of Circle of Life Palliative Medicine Program at St. Joseph Healthcare in Nashua N.H., McDonah works with patients and loved ones to enhance their quality of life.
McDonah has served as an integral member of the NH CCC since 2003, beginning his work as the Chair of the first Palliative Care workgroup which he still participates in. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors through 2011 before transitioning into his current position on the Medical Advisory Committee.
Through his involvement with NH CCC, he has seen many accomplishments such as increased awareness about palliative care services in NH and the sun safety/tanning awareness programs offered to NH teens. “It’s a very nice organization to be involved in, with people from all disciplines sitting at the table talking to each other.”
A highlight of his work with NH CCC was the opportunity to participate in advocacy efforts with NH legislators. Last year, he testified on behalf of palliative care interests for a bill that passed in both the house and senate to establish a palliative care center in NH.
McDonah has an uplifting outlook on the work he does. He looks at birth and death as two very wonderful parts of a person’s lifespan. Both are equally important, but the end of life is “a special time to be allowed into their life. I help them develop goals and discuss what they want for themselves and their loved ones… allowing them to live before they die.”
It’s not just his compassion and support that contributes to the end of life experience for his patients that is important to McDonah. He believes “the big thing is to promote palliative medicine in the community”. Since starting Palliative Medicine Services at Saint Joseph Healthcare in 1999, he has embedded the culture of his work into the practices of many providers at the hospital, and within the Nashua community.
McDonah frequently offers education to the staff on topics of symptom management and ethical issues. With members of the community trained in palliative medicine, his patients feel supported all around. “My team is the hospital and people in the community”.
Dr. Donald McDonah, M.D. is board certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine and Family Medicine. For more information about Circle of Life Palliative Medicine Services at St. Joseph Healthcare, call (603) 882-3000 or visit http://www.stjosephhospital.com/Palliative-Medicine