I am worried your brother might not be allowed to give you a kidney, Jose,” I said to my patient of 5 years while shifting my feet, nervous that my actions would give away the guilt that was suffocating me.
I had taken care of Jose throughout his journey with kidney disease, and he was now approaching the need for dialysis or transplantation.
Jose was accompanied by his Spanish-speaking brother, who looked bewildered as he read our faces. Fumbling with the contents of his wallet, he pointed to the heart on his driver’s license.
Unsure how to respond to this stark awareness of our healthcare system’s double standard regarding organ donation, I sought refuge in my computer screen while the brothers conversed in Spanish. At a loss for words, I looked up apologetically as Jose said, “Gracias, Doctora.”
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