Issues in literature, on TV etc

Dear all

There has been some discussion recently about the use of a transplant storyline on Eastenders and many of us have been concerned that the issues are misrepresenting reality - something we should deplore. I have recently been reading something which demonstrates very powerfully the challenges and issues facing the family of a potential organ donor and I would like to share with those of you who enjoy a good read. It is called "Mend the Living" by Maylis de Kerangal and tells the story of the accidental death of a 19 year old and the outcomes for family, doctors and other heath professionals.


4 Replies

  • It should be remembered that Eastenders is a fiction and a soap drama. despite any guidance from organisations such as the British Liver Trust, they will always go for the most sensational story and use poetic license. Sadly there is not much anybody can do to persuade the writers and producers of shows such as Casualty, Holby, and the list goes on, to give a 'true' representation of liver or any other disease.

    However, if it makes people take notice and take part in some serious discussion of organ donation then it does some good for those affected by and working in treatment and research of liver disease.


  • There was a story line on Holby where the father of a doctor at the hospital came in and was diagnosed with end stage liver disease. He had a liver transplant, performed by a general surgeon at Holby a few weeks later. It was not realistic, but then we have to remember it is just hospital porn, made for entertainment. If they had based in accurately on my own, or others, experience I guess it would have been too long and drawn out to keep their viewers interested.

    I always hope people can tell the difference between quality documentary and fictional programming, but then there are the people who choose to believe the Blackadder version of history because it is all they have seen or read, so it is a challenge when people form opinions and prejudices in that way. Sadly it was ever thus.

    There was a documentary series a couple of years ago on transplants in general called 'The Gift of Life'. It was on Channel 5 and is available in the UK on their catch up service if anyone is interested. Several years ago there was a program specifically about liver disease, I think it was Panarama, and I remember it was very accurate, with interviews with hepatologists, surgeons, and patients. I can't find a link to it now, so if anyone else can perhaps they could post it here.

    Thanks for the book recommendation I will certainly read that as it will be good to have that insight from the donor family's point of view.

  • That Holby storyline made me raise an eyebrow too, especially when he was up and about, suited and booted and the picture of health, mere days after receiving his transplant!

  • I would like to read this Mike.

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