David Vogin

Health & Medicine

My Toughest Challenge: Robert Earley

The president and CEO of JPS Health Network talks about the most difficult part of his job: deciding organ donation.

Robert Earley

President and CEO of JPS Health Network

“The patients are medically brain-dead by the time I see them, so I don’t have the luxury of talking to them. The challenge for me is when we have a patient who comes in and has no next of kin, or none that we can find … Under state statute, I’m the only one in the hospital who can make that decision for them. I know when I go into that room there is no one who knows about the state the [patient] is in. I have to figure out the best way to be their family member. I hold their hand and pray. Then I make the decision for them to be an organ and tissue donor. I think about the lives it will save. I have an overwhelming sadness for the loss of someone in front of me, and [hope] for those I don’t know.”