April 9, 2012

"By 5 o'clock today, you're going to have a Republican liver!"

"You're going to love Ann Coulter! You're going to love Glenn Beck!"
"No way!" protested Tim, a staunch Democrat. He swore that even with a chunk of his Republican brother-in-law's liver inside him, he'd never be conservative. The foursome joked and laughed during the 45-minute drive to Lahey. At the hospital, the sisters kissed their husbands goodbye, and the men were wheeled into operating rooms, where surgeons would remove 60% of Paul's liver and give it to Tim, who suffered from advanced liver disease.
A year later Tim was dead, and Paul died in the operating room that day.

48 comments:

damikesc said...

Horribly sad story. I hope the usual knee jerk calls for regulation don't hit. This is plenty tragic as is.

leslyn said...

And this means what? "Republican" livers kill people?

magpie said...

Donors are amazing people. They save lives, every day. This a tragic, terrible story, but I hope it does not dissuade people from becoming donors.

Chase said...

Tragic but inspiring.

edutcher said...

I guess Democrats really can't handle the truth, or good sense, or anything else that's Right.

It is a shame, however. I believe the procedures are generally pretty safe.

AllenS said...

leslyn said...
And this means what? "Republican" livers kill people?

An equally stupid thing to say, would be: "Don't waste your liver on a Democrat. It's not worth your life."

The Republican was a very generous man.

cubanbob said...

A horror show that did not have to happen if only medical common sense had been followed. I have never heard of a surgical procedure that didn't require a preclearence that didn't include an EKG. Truly this is a case justfying a medical malpractice lawsuit. Such a suit won't bring back the dead but should help deter this cavalier attitude by hospitals.

damikesc said...

It was clearly a family of in laws that loved each other dearly ans got hit with double tragedies. Horrible.

Matthew Sablan said...

Just skimming the article, it sounds like a lot of failsafes failed.

Unfortunate and sad for the family.

chuck b. said...

Is it a CNN story, or Lifetime Original Movie?

edutcher said...

Lifetime. Wait till the alarms go off and the actresses start chewing up the scenery.

Matthew Sablan said...

I can't imagine the pain for the survivor. The last memory he has is of teasing and joking with the man who literally would give his life for you.

I don't know if I could live with that sort of pain without a lot of support.

rhhardin said...

People love this. That's why it's there. $$

10,000 people die every day in the US.

Cherry pick for ratings.

Pogo said...

I have reservations about donating my organs while I am alive.

I may need them, quite seriously. The redundancy allows us to live later in life than the years we need to procreate.

Plus, there's the conflict of interst problem, noted in the story.

My wife or kids? Take my liver. Otherwise, meh.

Aridog said...

Very sad story. One thing I noticed that has been a practice of mine for years now: always have a highly trusted person with you for all consultations and diagnoses. Period. Period.

The wife said her husband had gone to Boston ahead of her and she wasn't there for the pre-surgical reviews. Should be safe enough, but it is safer still if there are at least two people to ask questions and record answers. The "patient" per se will be under some stress and can easily "miss" things said ... two there decreases that chance.

I never visit any of my doctors without my better half in tow, for all preliminary analysis, diagnoses, and decisions on what to do ... with her close by during any procedure to advise if emergency should occur ... she is the one I trust make the best decision for me when I cannot.

PatCA said...

Very sad, but I see no negligence. These things are not foolproof--no surgery is. I know of a woman who had a face lift b/c a daughter's wedding was approaching. She died on the table. Healthy woman, probably some underlying heart disease, dead at 56. Awful but not unheard of.

leslyn said...

AllenS said...

Leslyn said

"And this means what? "Republican" livers kill people?"

An equally stupid thing to say, would be: "Don't waste your liver on a Democrat. It's not worth your life."

The Republican was a very generous man. 4/9/12 11:29 A.M.

Yes, he was a very generous man. And if the roles had been reversed I would have asked the same question. In other words, why is this story here?

Christy said...

I'm trying to imagine how the liver recipient felt for that year.

My cousin's husband donated a kidney to cousin's brother. Everyone is fine. Don't know their party affiliations, however.

Ann Althouse said...

I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't believe that those 2 men loved each other.

It must hurt to be such a political person, but maybe not so much in Madison, where nearly everyone is on your side politically and anyone else can be harassed in the hope that she and her husband will give up and leave town.

MadisonMan said...

anyone else can be harassed in the hope that she and her husband will give up and leave town.

If this is happening to you, I'm disgusted.

What a boring world it would be if everyone was the same. Why don't politicians and their supporters understand this?

leslyn said...

1. Of course they loved each other. It was evident not only in their conversation, but in their acts.

2. This is a political partisan blog. The story brought up political partisanship. It wasn't just a feel-good/sad story, it was a Republican/Democrat feel good/sad story. So is there a political message?

Or perhaps the message is that love can overcome politics; in facts politics melt away in the face of love and sacrifice. I think that would be a wonderful message.

3 The question was just a question. Sometimes things really only are what they are.

AJ Lynch said...

Sad story about a brave man and his family.

Aridog said...

@leslyn at 12:36 PM .... oh, please, YOU are the one who first introduced politics in to this thread, 2nd comment, by you, at 11:21 AM.

Then you presume to hector us and define this blog for us as purely partisan-political in nature?

You must not read Ann's posts often if you consider this a purely partisan place.

leslyn said...

Not purely.

dunce said...

With government in control of health care, the process could be mandatory. Do not dismiss this idea as absurd because criminals in China are already harvested. Is it unimaginable that powerful people might imprison someone who was good match genetically on false charges to force such extractions? Who decides the priorities in China?

Aridog said...

@leslyn said...

Not purely.

Huh? May I quote you (?):

2. This is a political partisan blog.

AS I've said, the partisanship on this thread began with you ...and Allen S called you on it.

Skip the snit.

Alex said...

Once you forget about the politics, we're all just bags of meat & bone.

bagoh20 said...

"Once you forget about the politics, we're all just bags of meat & bone."

or even more basic: a simple bag o' H2O.

Pete the Streak said...

We are literally just a carbon footprint.

CWJ said...

Leslyn, epic fail. Your comment added nothing but snark. I find this post somewhat odd, but I assume AA has her reasons. Just because she posted it doesn't mean you need to comment thoughtlessly.

bagoh20 said...

When you get a cadaver transplant, they don't tell you much about the person who's liver now lives inside you. You can write the donor's family a letter, which they will deliver if the family wants to read it. Then it's up to the donor family to contact you if they want to.

I wrote a letter to the woman's family that donated my liver. I never heard back from them. I don't know if they didn't want to, or if she maybe didn't have any family. I only know she was in her early 40's when she died.

In my letter, I of course thanked them as best I could, and promised to do my best to make the gift worthy of her.

Five years later, I still think about her and that promise nearly every day. I really wish I knew more about her. Her liver is marvelous and has been working perfectly all along. I'm in great health for my age, and I think she would be proud and happy about what we have accomplished since we met.

The story in the post is very sad and I hope does not dissuade donors, although I understand how it could for live donors. They never say why he had such serious bleeding and arterial failure during the surgery.

Clearly this story should not dissuade anyone from donating in the event of your death, which I can't understand why anyone wouldn't do. You probably will never do anything so great in your life as simply signing away what you will no longer need. Make a true miracle. Save a life. Donate your organs.

Alex said...

bagoh - I wonder how many other commenters here have been through life threatening illnesses. It seems everyone here has lived a hard life.

Blue@9 said...

This is a political partisan blog.

You must be new here. Welcome.

bagoh20 said...

"It seems everyone here has lived a hard life."

I wouldn't call my life a hard one. Fighting cancer did at times pushed me near the limit of my endurance, but still overall I've been very lucky and would say I've had an easy life, and I worked long and hard to get it. Opportunity is the chance to appreciate hard work.

It's hard to complain being lucky enough to be born an American in the the 20th century.

MadisonMan said...

It's hard to complain

Did someone say Complain?

David said...

I'm with Bags. I was diagnosed with leukemia 8 years ago and have survived because of a new treatment developed by American, Dutch and German doctors and researchers. Just a few years before I would have died rather quickly. I am just extraordinarily lucky to have lived when and where I did. (And not just for this reason--for so many reasons.)

I fail to see any political content in this story. It was two guys razzing each other, like guys do. I have no idea whether there was legally actionable negligence, though certainly there were man things that could have been done more effectively. But would they have made a difference?

Leslyn, sometimes you should just keep quiet. This was one of those times.

Paul's wife seems to be wondering whether she was to blame. M'am, you are not. Your magnificent husband would have brushed away the EKG risk given what was at stake. God bess him.

bagoh20 said...

Hey, that reminds me: did we ever complete the construction on that bridge to the 21st century? Last time I heard, it was in the planning stages, then suddenly we're across. It must have been a short bridge, or did the river dry up?

Methadras said...

Another glaring example that I will never donate my organs to anyone while I'm alive or dead, short of immediate family. Surgery is a risk, and in this case the stats weren't on their side. Quite sad. However, the organ donation business as a whole is a fucking horror show.

Methadras said...

magpie said...

Donors are amazing people. They save lives, every day. This a tragic, terrible story, but I hope it does not dissuade people from becoming donors.


You know what, you are right, they are amazing people and organ donations do save lives, but you also know what else is amazing? The level to which these people become suckers at the point of donation or to think about wanting to do that. If they knew how fucked up the organ donation business is, they would run, not walk in the other direction.

bagoh20 said...

This death was one of only three in the last 13 years with such transplants.

More stunning is that no cadaver has ever died again during the harvesting of an organ. Surprisingly , they don't even use anesthesia!

leslyn said...

Alex said...

bagoh -I wonder how many other commenters here have been through life threatening illnesses. It seems everyone here has lived a hard life.

Live long enough (and long enough isn't very long) and you will experience real, true tragedy. No matter what anyone's life looks like from the outside, tragedy will have touched everyone, and for some, maybe even come to stay.

Gahrie said...

It's hard to complain being lucky enough to be born an American in the the 20th century.

Exactly.

I teach history at a mainly Hispanic, suburban high school. One of my key objectives for the year is to try and get my students to appreciate just how true this statement is.

rhhardin said...

Dilbert cartoon covering the audience here.

Mary said...

"I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't believe that those 2 men loved each other.

It must hurt to be such a political person, but maybe not so much in Madison, where nearly everyone is on your side politically and anyone else can be harassed in the hope that she and her husband will give up and leave town."



But... you're the one who chose to highlight the brief political mention in the article. Had nothing to do with the story really, yet you chose to excerpt that part.

Then... you use the comments to once again make it all about you, and your suffering. Nevermind the pain of the woman who lost her husband -- your husband and you are being politically harasssed...


I sure hope this blog supplements your income well. You do seem to delight in the political divisiveness, and I think you "belong" to that Madison mindset more than you think. God bless, and may you turn away from such darkness to light by personal choice one day.

EDH said...

Just to even things out along the political spectrum...

Congressman Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston) is the first member of Congress to be a live liver donor, so he knows first hand of the need for liver disease research. Congressman Lynch gave two-thirds of his liver to his brother in-law, South Boston resident and union carpenter Joe O'Leary, who would have died without the living donor transplant.

"Being Irish, I didn’t know we were allowed to donate our liver."

John Lynch said...

Love is what you do.

I like the non-political posts better.

hdhouse said...

I presume that one had health insurance and the other couldn't get one due to a pre-existing condition and both died before the bills were paid and one at least was forced into bankruptcy due to the hospital bills and the republican family blames Obama to this day.

Noted.

Unknown said...

It's easy to see what the problem is. The hospital failed to check to see that they were an issue match.