Recently I read a great book for organ donors: The Organ Donor Experience: Good Samaritans and the Meaning of Altruism by Katrina A. Bramstedt and Rena Down. The book focuses on altruistic donation between strangers rather than friend and family donations. It covers all kinds of organ donations and discusses the entire process from evaluation beforehand to life after donation.
It cites scholarly research to back up its information but isn’t dry. What I found most interesting were the testimonials from the organ donors themselves. It’s great to see research and writing on this issue, since there isn’t a lot out there on altruistic donation. Although my kidney went to someone I don’t know and was technically altruistic, I think of my donation as more like the family/friend kind, since my first motivation was to get a kidney for a friend. I am doubly lucky because my friend Jackie is free from dialysis and so is the recipient of my kidney–I hope.
Dr. Katrina A. Bramstedt is a noted medical ethicist associated with California Transplant Donor Network in Oakland, California. Rena Down is an Emmy-award winning writer for theatre and television and is the recipient of a kidney from a stranger.