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Ethical Considerations Liver Donor Living Donor Misinformation

No More Mercy

Tonight NBC’s “Mercy” just lost me as a viewer. All season I’ve been enjoying the show about the Army nurse returned from Iraq with PTSD. I’ve found kinship with her detachment from the people closest to her; her hyper-emotionality; her attempts to play “normal” while hiding in a bottle a man, or something ultimately self-destructive – I especially cheered her on when she pummelled an abusive mother.

As of tonight I’m done.

Two sisters injured in a car accident, the fault of the 21 yr old driver’s blood alcohol level. Turns out the girls have the same father; the oldest girl’s mother died when she was five, so the woman who raised her is her stepmother – yes, family tension abounds. As scriptwriters would have it, the younger sister threw a clot and remains in a coma while the older sister’s liver sputters to a halt. The stepmother is a 5/6 match.

First off, this news was delivered to the ENTIRE family (parents and daughters). Secondly, the medical personnel and husband/father immediately began pressuring the wife/stepmother to pony up the lobe. Third, there was absolutely NO mention of risks to her, only the ‘life saving’ benefit to the recipient. Fourth, and the proverbial nail in the coffin, even after the wife/stepmother expressed her ambivalence, my favorite nurse cornered her later, giving her a big lecture to convince her that donating was the ‘right’ thing to do.

I cannot adequately express my repugnance for the continued misrepresentation of living donation in popular culture. These characterizations perpetuate the idea that there is no good reason for someone NOT to donate, and prey on the misconception that family relationships include a presumptive obligation to put one’s life at risk, no exceptions allowed. All of which is complete crap.

Since I’m a Vote-With-My-Feet kind of girl, I will no longer be tuning in to NBC on Wednesday nights. I suppose I should thank their ignorant and short-sighted writers; they just gave me an hour of my life back.