LifeSave Series: Dr. Josiah Hanson, Harborview Medical Center

Each month, LifeCenter Northwest selects a Lifesaver Award winner. This award honors and recognizes those who demonstrate a commitment to improving donation outcomes and culture through their actions, time, and energy. We are proud to announce Dr. Josiah Hanson of Harborview Medical Center as our January LifeSaver Award winner.

Over a recent holiday weekend, a patient was admitted to a Western Washington hospital after suffering a stroke. She was ultimately declared brain dead and her family was pleased to honor her registered wishes to be an organ donor. During her donation assessment, a small, raised, irregular shaped, dark brown mole was identified on her lower abdomen. The Organ Recovery Coordinator on the case, Rachael, asked LifeCenter’s Medical Director, Dr. Mike Souter to review the photos. He believed it was a keratoacanthoma but recommended the team get a dermatology consult before moving forward with the organ donation case. She then spoke with the on-call pathologist at the local hospital who was not definitively able to determine what the mole was without a biopsy. Even with a rush biopsy the results would not be available until 2-3 days later, which was not within the family’s requested timeline for organ recovery completion.

Rachael reached out to six different local dermatologists for a consultation, but due to the holiday weekend, no one available. Fortunately, she was able to connect with Dr. Josiah Hanson, the on-call dermatologist at Harborview.  Dr. Hanson reviewed the case and provided consultation on the pictures of the patient’s mole. He believed it was a dermal nevus, a classic mole or birthmark, and was not worried about it being a melanoma. Upon review with Dr. Souter the case moved forward in a timely manner as the family requested.

This patient was of Asian descent and the first person in her family to sign up for the donor registry. She donated her lungs, liver, and kidneys, and all of the recipients are alive and doing well today. As a result of their positive donation experience, multiple family members stated that they would like to register to become donors.

None of this would have been possible if it was not for the extra effort and commitment from Dr. Hanson. He took time out of his busy schedule to help LifeCenter out on a case that was not at Harborview, or even in the Seattle-area. Thank Dr. Hanson, for going above and beyond to assist with this donation case and ensure that we could move forward and save lives.