The Organ Donor Experience: Good Samaritans and the Meaning of Altruism

Kayt Sukel, Author
Katrina A. Bramstedt and Rena Down. Rowman & Littlefield, $32.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4422-1115-5
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Despite starting slowly with some academic jargon about altruism and people's motivations to donate organs, the book quickly takes a right turn and gets interesting. The authors sprinkle little informative tidbits along the way—Asian-Americans constituted only 3.4% of U.S. donors—and bring their points alive through little vignettes when examining the origins of altruism. The authors would make brilliant sales reps: they put forth a convincing argument about what a great humanitarian effort living donation is then patiently explain the evaluation process to reassure readers of the minimal costs. The few downsides are reviewed and discussed—for example, how to deal with family members who do not support the decision to donate or the devastation donors might experience when a recipient dies. Resources, bibliography, and index occupy a full 36 pages, yet for the most part this book escapes the drudgery of a research-laden study and instead reads as a fascinating story about a very human issue. (Jan.)
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