Posts Tagged ‘Surgeons we love’

The online transplant community is all a-twitter over the season premiere of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy last week.  The intense premiere featured a 12-person kidney donation chain, where the would-be donors of several transplant candidates all swapped their kidneys with each other to find organs that matched for all their recipients.  That’s 12 transplants happening at once, in six operating rooms, all conducted by, you guessed it, those McDreamy, McSteamy, and McLovely starring physicians. (Doctors in the world of TV drama, you see, do every single task themselves, from labwork and MRIs in the dark to every known surgical technique known to man. Of course.)   The episode was rife with myth and medical-team decisions that pushed if not trampled on the boundaries of ethics and common sense.  I could go on for days about the factual inaccuracies and ethical breaches it contained.

Grey’s Anatomy isn’t alone.  My hands-down favorite drama these days, House, has had several transplant-related stories that are borderline, if not way over the top, offensive for their wreckless representation of myths and ethical boundary pushing.  Like this episode.  Or this one or this one.  ER has done it, Scrubs has done it, heck, for all I know, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman has done it. 

But a part of me loves to see the idea of kidney swaps and chains featured in front of prime time America, even for all the flaws.  I imagine it does America’s couch potato public some good to be aware that swaps are a viable option in some cases.  If it sparks conversation with their loved ones and transplant teams, all the better.

What do you think?

While the Grey’s surgical team would have made a world record if they had actually conducted 12 transplants at once, in truth those kinds of swaps are increasingly helping people without a matching living donor get their life-saving transplant from a different living donor.  (I think the record is five surgeries at once, at UCLA, but I’m not sure.  Also, programs that conduct these chains are sometimes opting not to do all the surgeries at once, but instead over time and often involving multiple transplant centers.  Case in point

A long time ago, I remember hearing about a woman who was blogging about truth and myths in prime-time medical dramas.  As I recall, she was writing fairly regularly about the shows that had most recently aired, and then highlighting what was true, what was a stretch, and what was downright preposterous.  I tried searching for her again tonight but never found her.  If any of you are aware of any services that are doing this, please comment or email!


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I don’t want to intimidate anyone by sharing this, but WordPress lets me see in my management dashboard page the search terms people used to successfully find and link to this blog.  Usually it’s stuff you would expect, like “living organ donor” or “kidney donor blogs,” or topical things like “Transplant Games.”  Sometimes it’s something random, like “plush kidney doll” — which gets searched for more than you might guess! — that takes people to this post.  But there have been a couple of fun tangential searches that made me laugh. 

My favorite so far appeared yesterday, and when I read it, you could describe my laugh as a “guffaw followed by a serene, knowing little grin.”  Before I tell it to you, first a short back story:

My surgeon for my living donation (partial liver) was Dr. Alan Koffron, of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL.  Now, I am a single woman in my 30s, who appreciates a good-looking man.  And let me tell you, when Dr. Koffron walked into the room to see me for the first time, in his nice white doctor coat, I about fell over.  He is, in a word, dreamy.   I of course didn’t plan to tell him that, except I think I might have let something slip as the anesthesiologist was getting started, along the lines of, “Um, PLEASE don’t let me profess my undying love to Dr. Koffron as I’m going under, okay? Promise me!” So, alas, my sweet little crush has been kept silent, unrequited and unshared with the general public. 

Until now, that is, having learned that I’m not alone.  Here’s what someone searched yesterday, resulting in a visit to this blog:  “Is Alan Koffron married?”

Sadly, I believe he is.  On the upside?  He’s an outstanding surgeon, and he leaves a very subtle scar.

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