Trial by Transplant

Book Excerpt


Amy Silverstein is 44. She got a heart transplant as a 25-year-old law student.


Silence. "I'm completely unraveled. I can't even move my left arm. And it's not just the arm, Dr. Davis. It's the years of crap. It's illness and hospitals and specialists and denervated heartbeats and immunosuppression. I don't want to do it anymore. There's no end, and you know it."

"We need to get you feeling well again," he said.

"You always say that. It's pure bullshit!" Dr. Davis lost his smile. "I'm going to stop taking my medicines—all of them. Maybe I'll live, maybe not. I can be an experiment."

Afterwards, Scott and I stood waiting for the elevator like strangers. I could tell a storm was brewing within him. "No one can save you," he said. "It's not fair to expect Dr. Davis to make everything ok. You had a heart transplant. It's been 17 years. You have a transplanted heart, Amy. It's all up to you. It's in your hands, and you know it." Here it was again: the moment of choice.

"I'll try," I said.

From Sick Girl, published by Grove Press, copyright 2007 by Amy Silverstein

You can read reactions to Silverstein's views and her reply on the Comarow on Quality blog.