Ethical Considerations Liver Donor Living Donor Research Living Donor Risks Psychosocial Risks

Liver Donors Suffer Emotionally Post-Transplant

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


Heath in Memorium


Achy Breaky Heart

Folly died this evening, peacefully, I hope, in her sleep.

I took this photo with my phone a couple of months ago, two plus months after her cancer diagnosis, and while it’s far from the last photo I snapped, it speaks the most to her essence.

Bone cancer is extremely painful I hear, even when properly medicated. Greyhounds are a stoic lot, but Folly more than most. She never complained, she never gave the oscar-worthy melodramatic whining and baying episode that most greys are famous for; if she was hurt, she’d utter little whimpers but she’d struggle on… She was a warrior – on the track, as a brood mom, and as a cancer patient.

What always struck me about Folly was her face. No matter her mood, those big dark eyes of hers always expressed an intelligence and depth, a wisdom even, that transcended doggiedom. I spent a lot of time staring into those eyes in an attempt to ascertain her secrets, wondering what she would say to me if she could. (Probably “Hey Mom, stop messing around and get me a cookie, will ya?”) This was a dog whose gaze seemed to hold the answers to life’s great mysteries.

I’ll miss her unusually long ears.

I’ll miss the tawny spot on her back that I rubbed ‘for luck’.

I’ll miss the grunt of her ‘bobo’ (hedgehog) when she ‘killed’ it.

I’ll miss her little doggie snores behind me as I’m working on the computer.

I’ll miss the tell-tale thump of her three-legged jaunts to the kitchen (in her last months)

I’ll even miss her bitchiness – and believe me, she was a prime Alpha Bitch – because in the end, it’s what got her through. It’s how she was able to spare me from making the decision to end her life.

It’s also why, up until the very end, I would kiss her furry head and call her My Big Strong Brave Girl.

Thank you Folly, for every day. Run happy and free. We’ll see each other again.