Even I was pretty shocked by the breadth and depth of this one.
South Korea, Japan and other Asian countries perform a lot more living liver donations than the U.S. because deceased donor livers are unavailable (or in very short supply). I’ve been well aware of the possible detrimental psychological and emotional consequences of living donation (kidney and/or liver) for quite some time, but this surprised even me.
Of the 30 categories derived from the liver donors’ interviews, 27 were unambiguously negative. While it would be easy to dismiss these results with “They only talked to 10 liver donors” and “It’s only one study” or even “it’s a cultural thing”, the authors admit the results confirm what other previous researchers have found. And I’ve heard variations of these same sentiments from American living donors many times over the past six years.
In other words, this is not an aberration.
Here are some examples:
“I felt more emptiness than a sense of fulfillment of donating my liver.”
“If I had known about the physical side effects, it wouldn’t be so tough mentally. I resent that I wasn’t given information about this.”
“The donor also underwent a huge operation but all the guardians go to the recipient…” [Note: I don’t know what “guardians” refers to here, but the category was “focus on the recipient”, a sentiment I’ve heard a lot]
“I don’t believe TV anymore. It tricked us by showing a donor saying that nothing was wrong after the donation.”
“We can’t tell the recipient where we are hurting. Even if we are hurting. We have to be careful. ”
“I get really depressed. The loss of energy makes me feel really depressed.”
“Even after two years since donating my organ, I can’t sleep well and even when I do sleep, it feels like I didn’t sleep properly.”
Please click the link above and read the entire chart.
Jeong, & Yoo (2014). The psychological and mental experiences of living liver donors in South Korea Contemporary Engineering Sciences DOI: 10.12988/ces.2014.49149