The Organ Donor Experience: Good Samaritans and the Meaning of Altruism

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9781442211155: The Organ Donor Experience: Good Samaritans and the Meaning of Altruism
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With a current US need of over 115,000 organs one would think that Good Samaritan donors would be welcomed with open arms by transplant centers and society in general; however, this is often not the case. Tell someone that you have donated an organ to a stranger and the reaction is likely to be one of astonishment and disbelief. Some doctors even consider people who offer their organs to strangers crazy. Why would anyone do that? Who are these people so committed to helping others-strangers-that they would undergo surgery, discomfort, and disruption of their lives?
This book profiles donors who have offered their organs to strangers and helps readers understand the meanings behind their donations. For the donor, altruism should always be the primary motivation, though other motivations often come into play. Often, there are also subconscious reasons for performing this great act of kindness. The Organ Donor Experience gives living anonymous organ donors of kidneys, liver lobes, and lung lobes the opportunity to tell their stories as they understand them, and for others to understand the motivations and the meaning of true altruism.

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About the Author:

Dr. Bramstedt is an Associate Professor at Bond University School of Medicine (Queensland, Australia) specializing in medical ethics.  Her areas of interest are medical student education, clinical ethics consultation, research ethics consultation, and organ donation & transplantation. She has published extensively in medical journals, and written several books and book chapters. She lectures  internationally and has made numerous appearances on television and radio discussing transplantation and donation.  She has performed over 800 ethics consultations, including living donor candidate assessments (kidney and liver).

Rena Down is an Emmy-award winning writer for theatre and television whose credits include The People vs. Inez Garcia" which she wrote and directed for PBS and Susan Griffin's Voices (Emmy award) which she directed for PBS. She was Story Editor and Producer of Dallas, Falcon Crest, Nurse, and has written five movies for television. She teaches writing at The New School University and is Adjunct Professor at Fordham University. She is the recipient of a kidney from a stranger.

Review:

Many discussions of organ donation focus on the shortages of organs and the needs of recipients. This book provides a unique and compelling perspective. Bramstedt (consultant, California Transplant Donor Network), a medical ethicist, and Down, a writer and recipient of a kidney from a stranger, have written an engaging book that highlights the lives of living donors who have given organs to people whom they do not know. The authors seamlessly weave together a scholarly analysis of organ donation to strangers and the stories of these donors. The stories illustrate commonalities, such as a history of altruism and a sense of abundance, and unique aspects of donors' lives, such as the decision-making processes by which individuals became donors. The analysis and stories are challenging, leading the reader to welcome the appendix of resources for those who want more information. The authors are honest in presenting the risks of donation, but the overall tone is positive. Bramstedt and Down are to be commended for informing readers about an underreported aspect of organ donation and honoring these "good Samaritans" in this scholarly and readable book. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels. (CHOICE)

The book quickly...gets interesting. The authors sprinkle little informative tidbits along the way--Asian-Americans constituted only 3.4% of U.S. donors--and bring their points alive through little vignettes when examining the origins of altruism. The authors would make brilliant sales reps: they put forth a convincing argument about what a great humanitarian effort living donation is then patiently explain the evaluation process to reassure readers of the minimal costs. The few downsides are reviewed and discussed--for example, how to deal with family members who do not support the decision to donate or the devastation donors might experience when a recipient dies. Resources, bibliography, and index occupy a full 36 pages, yet for the most part this book escapes the drudgery of a research-laden study and instead reads as a fascinating story about a very human issue. (Publishers Weekly)

Approximately 28,000 organ transplants are performed annually in the U.S. Although the majority utilize organs from deceased individuals, about 100 cases involve living Good Samaritan organ donors. Bramstedt and Down look at the motivations and experiences of 22 Good Samaritans who have donated a kidney, a lobe of the liver, or part of a lung to a stranger. What prompts these people to make such an extraordinary gift to an unrelated recipient? Is it altruism, a religious reason, or, perhaps, atonement? Most of them feel compelled to save someone’s life or at least ease suffering. Although members of this generous group share some similar attributes, a variety of personalities are represented. One man even had a tattoo of a kidney inked on his back where the donated organ was formerly positioned. Concepts of altruism are also considered: Are we prewired for it, or do we learn it? The authors provide information about the evaluation of potential candidates for organ donation, the surgery itself, possible complications, and the effects on family members while telling the stories of Good Samaritan organ donors. (Booklist)

Bramstedt & Down's The Organ Donor Experience has done what none have before: tell the story of all phases of organ donation from the donor’s perspective. By doing this, the reader is thrust into the mind of the donors, to understand their motivations and ultimately, what is altruistic behavior. This is an essential read for all those interested in organ donation. (Richard Fatica, M.D., Medical Director Kidney Transplantation, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH)

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Book Description ROWMAN LITTLEFIELD, United States, 2011. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Organ donors are, by definition, altruists, and their act is even more generous when they remain anonymous. But altruism doesn t tell the whole story. There are myriad motivations, some subconscious, some conscious, that compel people to donate a part of themselves to someone they don t know. The Organ Donor Experience uncovers the desires, personalities and motivations of Good Samaritan organ donors and reveals much about the process of donating an organ to a needy recipient. Seller Inventory # AAR9781442211155

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Book Description ROWMAN LITTLEFIELD, United States, 2011. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Organ donors are, by definition, altruists, and their act is even more generous when they remain anonymous. But altruism doesn t tell the whole story. There are myriad motivations, some subconscious, some conscious, that compel people to donate a part of themselves to someone they don t know. The Organ Donor Experience uncovers the desires, personalities and motivations of Good Samaritan organ donors and reveals much about the process of donating an organ to a needy recipient. Seller Inventory # AAR9781442211155

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