Pathways to Palliative Care
Dr. Toluwalase Ajayi: From PICU to Palliative Care
Marcin Chwistek, MD FAAHPM
It wasn’t until the middle of her residency in pediatrics at the University of Kansas that Toluwalase Ajayi, MD, realized that palliative care might be precisely what she was looking for in medicine. She recalled one moment during her rotation in a pediatric intensive care unit when, in the middle of the night, a child with a congenital heart disease went into cardiac arrest. The cardiovascular surgeon arrived quickly, ahead of her team, giving orders to begin resuscitation.
“With my gloved hands, I literally held a child’s heart. It was one of the most terrifyingly amazing moments of my life,” Ajayi said. But then, she noticed the child’s parents standing in the doorway, watching her in terror. She quickly realized that “no one was talking to them, no one was explaining what was happening. I thought I would rather be out there, talking to them, and well, doing what Emily had done.”