This letter comes from Dear Prudence at Slate magazine, which you can find here.

This is a totally hypothetical question that a friend asked me and which is now leading to a fight. My friend asked me if I would ever be a living organ donor to a stranger. I said I wouldn’t. My friend then asked if I would donate to somebody I knew slightly, like an acquaintance or a co-worker. Again I said no. My friend then asked if I would donate to a good friend (we were good friends). I said no, I would not. This is where my friend got mad. My friend is in perfect health and does not need a kidney or any other organ. My friend asked why I would be so selfish. I told my friend that, working in the medical field, I know that there are no guarantees. You can die or have complications from any kind of surgery, and donating a kidney is major surgery. Plus, I would be out of work for a while. Plus, I have a host of relatives I would donate to, including my spouse, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. For some bizarre reason this has caused a huge rift in what was a good friendship. Do you think it is selfish to not want to be a living donor to anybody but a relation?

Dear LW (letter writer),

I’m not going to lie, but this letter made me giggle a little bit. No, you are not selfish. Those are YOUR organs from YOUR body. If you want to donate an organ to your family, then do that. You don’t need her permission. You explained your reasoning to her, which you didn’t have to. Your reasoning made perfect sense to me. You are not obligated to dole out your organs.

What an odd question, which makes me think that she was probably asking for someone else, especially after the way she reacted. Whether it was hypothetical or not, you gave her an answer, and she needs to move on.  I would sit her down and ask her what is going on.  She may be having some personal issues. Try to talk things over, if you can.

Good luck.

~Jana Leigh

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organ donation