Advocacy Living Donor Misinformation

G- D- it, I hate when people get the words wrong

I’m paraphrasing a great line from “bull durham” where Crash Davis interrupts Eddie “nuke” LaLouche’s butchered rendition of “Try a Little Tenderness”.

In this case, I’m referring to the writers of the latest “Grey’s Anatomy”.

Last night’s episode revolved around a six-way kidney swap, chock full of drama and ridiculousness as viewers have come to expect from the prime-time soap. But as anyone in my writing group knows, I’m a stickler for continuity, consistency and realism (yes, even in stories about Lizard people from Planet 32A97), and that extends to television programs that puport to show the inner workings of a hospital. So let me set the record straight:

1. The odds of all members of this six-way kidney swap being in the same locale and the same hospital are quite slim. Not saying it hasn’t/can’t/won’t happen, but to find six donors and six recipients with coordinating blood types and HLA matching in a small geographic region is incredible, to say the least. Detached kidneys are viable for 48 to 72 hours, so it’s much more likely they’d fly the organ to its destination.

2. One of the donors turned out to the be mistress of one of the recipients. Everyone (except the woman’s lover) believed she just decided to cough up a kidney to a total stranger for no reason. Yes it happens; I’m not so cynical as to discount this possibility. However, every donor is put through a psych eval of sorts. Granted, mine was pretty minimal and for the most part, they’re looking to weed out martyrs and the uncertain, but I’d like to think someone would’ve picked up on her ulterior motive, especially considering how quickly she cracked under the pressure.

3.Dr. Bailey and her ‘pep talk’. Sure, the writers paid lip service to the fact donors should not be coerced in any way to relinquish a body part, but it happened anyway. Where the hell was the transplant coordinator? How about sending a mental health professional in to LISTEN to this poor woman who just discovered her husband was A. having an extramarital relationship with B. someone much younger and C. the person in question was there to donate a kidney!!

4. The biggie – KIDNEY IN A JAR. First off, unless the kidney is cancerous or otherwise malevolent, they do NOT remove a recipient’s natural kidney during a transplant. They simply insert the new organ lower in the pelvic region. That’s right, a transplant recipient usually walks out of the hospital with three kidneys.

On a personal level, I’m really disgusted by the idea of ‘kidney in a jar’. This is a person’s vital organ, someone who put their trust in you as a medical professional, to treat them and heal them, and you’re coveting their body parts for decor accessories? Disrespectful doesn’t begin to cover it.

And finally, of six recipients, at the end of the episode, one wasn’t doing so well. His son was part of the kidney swap and there was the obligatory tearful scene between them, but where was the actual donor. You know, the person whose kidney actually went into this guy’s body? Granted, everyone in this circle was donating to help ‘their’ loved one, but they also knew exactly who was getting their kidney.

Guess the writers didn’t think the donor was all the important.

(P.S. Happy Birthday Vi….)

One reply on “G- D- it, I hate when people get the words wrong”

I’m saving my full blast (I have both barrels loaded with explosives) for Becky’s blog. But as both you and I know that at least from our sample of two the donor is pretty much a throw away accessory for as much communication we get after the operation

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