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A Piece of My Mind
December 19, 2007

Giving Back

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2007;298(23):2723-2724. doi:10.1001/jama.298.23.2723

“Hey, buddy,” came a voice from across the anesthesia preoperative clinic. I spotted a man who appeared ravaged by illness. His gaunt face, thin peripheral musculature, and massive abdominal ascites depicted the stigmata of liver disease. It took a few seconds for me to recognize that this was my father, and because of that delay I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt, fear, anger, and disgust. How was it that I did not instantly recognize the man who had raised me? His precipitous decline over the preceding few months made this appointment all the more important. We were waiting for the final clearance prior to a surgery where part of my liver would be used to erase decades of toxicity.

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