When questioned about his plan to donate his body to science, my father (who was not a physician, but a physicist) would answer, “Why not? I won’t need it anymore.” I so admired his attitude, and I always wished I could emulate it. It has taken me decades, however, to come even close.
It was not until last month that I finally said yes when I was asked, while renewing my driver’s license, to be an organ donor. That it took me so long is embarrassing: as a medical student, I participated in organ transplant operations; I am well aware of the life-saving role donated organs play, and of the tremendous organ shortage in the United States. As a friend of a person with lupus who is on her second transplanted kidney, I have seen the immeasurable difference the transplants made in her life, and I am forever grateful to the donors who’ve given me 34 years of friendship with her.