Tuesday, October 12, 2004


"Can you make sure I don't get a Nigger liver?"

My eyes snapped up from the patient's chart and I stared back in disbelief. I must have misheard. This is my third transplant case in three days. I'm a little exhausted and sleep deprived, and I must have heard incorrectly. I looked blankly at the patient, trying to understand what I -

"Doctor, I associate freely with their kind, but I don't want a Nigger liver living inside of me."

My disbelief quickly turned to disgust. I looked at my patient, sitting in bed, receiving a priceless gift and another chance at life, having the gumption to even voice such a request.

I informed the patient that our policy protects the anonymity of the donor patients and that sometimes I don't even know much more about the donor patient other than that the liver is suitable for transplantation. She looked back at me blankly. She didn't seem satisfied with my response.

But I had enough. And with that, I closed her chart, wished her luck, and made my way towards the OR.

Unfortunately, racism is not a factor in determining transplant surgery candidates.