Books to Spur Conversation about Organ and Tissue Donation

April 13, 2018 | abbas

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Tis the season for donating your organs and tissue. According to, "in Ontario, there are over 1,500 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. This is their only treatment option, and every three days someone will die because they did not get their transplant in time." Suffice to say the choice to donate your organs and/or tissue is commendable but can be a fraught, emotional process based on the circumstances of the donor. In Chris Lynch's novel Pieces 18-year-old Eric deals with the loss of his little brother Duane by meeting recipients of the latter's organs. To his surprise, his budding relationships with his brother's organ recipients helps aid him during the grieving process.

Another great read that speaks to the deep feelings involved in organ donation is The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal. Much as in "Pieces", this novel is about a teen boy, named Simon, who meets his fate in a sudden life-altering accident. The story revolves around the human moments experienced by his parents, doctors, nurses and various ancillary characters. 

Another book I wish to recommend is Transplantation Ethics by Robert Veatch, which starts with a history of organ transplantation and then tackles ongoing issues, including competing definitions of what constitutes a dead person/donor, when it is ethical to procure an organ, and allocating organs in a market starved of donors. This book is available at the Toronto Reference Library only. 

I hope this post and the books suggested here may help spur if not continue the conversation about organ donation!