January 15, 2011

VIRGINIA POSTREL: Kidney Donation Goes Prime Time:

Last Sunday night something remarkable happened. Two prime-time shows included plots in which one character’s kidneys failed and, instead of the usual squirming, another character actively tried to donate. Admittedly, on “Family Guy” the would-be donor was a talking dog. But at the last minute a doctor, who treated donating as the logical choice, replaced him.

More significantly, on “Desperate Housewives,” where Susan (Teri Hatcher) is shown visibly ailing and facing years of dialysis, her mother’s refusal to donate seemed petulant and irrational. In contrast, against Susan’s protests her own daughter insisted on being tested. She told her mother: “They have these new surgical techniques—it’s no worse than a belly piercing—which I did not do.” An exaggeration, sure, but a welcome change from declaring kidney donation a Bad Idea.

Virginia donated a kidney to Sally Satel a few years ago. We talked with her about it in this podcast.

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