Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"New Amsterdam" episode on NBC stretches live organ transplant donation expectations to incredible extremes

Tuesday Nov. 13 I watched, for the first time, NBC’s “New Amsterdam” medical drama show created by David Schulner. A new medical director (Ryan Eggold) creates controversy in New York City’s oldest public hospital, Bellevue, near Greenwich Village. 
Last night the episode, called “Domino Effect”, presented a situation of “chain letter organ transplants”.  I won’t get into the details of the characters, but living people can donate one kidney, parts of a liver, part of a lung (one or two lobes), pancreas, or intestines (source).  
People can also donate bone marrow (often for leukemia patients needed stem cell transplants) as well as blood and plasma and platelets.
The  FDA’s guidelines for blood donations from MSM (essentially, gay men) have been modified to exclude only men who report certain behaviors within the past twelve months. 

But what is shocking about this episode to me is that when I was growing up, in the 1950s and 60s, such donations were not yet medically possible or expected.
Many of these surgeries could be disruptive to the donors and disrupt body integrity, which has been an important concept to me personally.  

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