James Trotter, M.D., a liver specialist at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, in Denver, which has performed more than 60 live donor transplants, says the Hurewitzes' attitude is typical of families facing such a life-or-death decision.
"It's as if you have a loved one trapped on the second floor of a burning building, and you want to run in to save them," he
says."Most patients and potential donors don't understand what's in that building.They don't stop to consider the risk that the floor can fall in, or that there may be so much smoke they won't be able to find their way out."The concept of informed consent, Trotter
and other experts caution, is often clouded by emotion.There has been only one other known death of a live liver donor in the United States, but medical experts agree that the lack of follow- up data could mean that the mortality rate is higher."There is a risk to donors," Dr. Trotter
says."That risk will never go away.It will never be zero."
But whatever the concerns of professionals in the field, most families are still running into the burning building that Dr. Trotter