On January 10, 2002, a healthy 57-year-old man underwent a liver donation procedure that successfully resected approximately 60 percent of the right lobe of his liver in preparation for transplanting that liver into his brother, a 54-year-old man who suffered from a degenerative liver disease. After what was described as a technically uneventful transplant, the donor patient seemed to do well on the first postoperative day. He began to manifest some tachycardia, abnormally rapid heartbeat, late on the second postoperative day. Early on the third day, he began to hiccup and complained of being nauseated. He was given symptomatic treatment. Later that day he began to vomit brownish material. He became oxygen-desaturated (lacking adequate oxygen in the bloodstream) and was placed on 100 percent oxygen by mask. He was pronounced dead on that third day.
Parker J. Palmer is the founder and senior partner of the Center for Courage and Renewal and the author of numerous books, including A Hidden Wholeness: the Journey Toward an Undivided Life, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation and The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life.