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Since in Real Life organ donation is still an opt-in process in most countries (i.e., you have to sign up to become an eligible donor), lots more people need transplants than there are organs. Rule of Drama means that this pops up quite a bit in medical and crime shows. Often a Knight Templar Parent will do whatever it takes to get the Littlest Cancer Patient the organ he needs, especially if the person ahead of him is a Rich Bitch who ruined her body by hard living. Less often the Rich Bitch learns An Aesop about how precious life is and to open her heart to others (especially if said heart was what got transplanted). Even more rare are incidents in which the organ doesn't take (unless the series is a medical drama); in horror movies, however, the biggest side effect is an increased risk of Grand Theft Me or any other kind of Body Horror.

Related tropes: Blood Transfusion Plot and Organ Theft. Compare Saved by the Phlebotinum.

Sister trope to Healthcare Motivation.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Angel Beats! reveals in episode nine that just moments before Otonashi died he signed a donor card, in the hopes his death wouldn't be in vain. It's shown in episode 13 that indeed, it wasn't in vain as Kanade has his heart.
  • In Boku no Hatsukoi wo Kimi ni Sasagu, main character Takuma suffers of a heart disease. Eventually, the condition for Takuma to get better is to get a heart transplant. Kou gets appointed as the donor, but both Takuma and Kou's family reject it.
  • In The Case Files of Jeweler Richard, it's revealed that Vincent Leung married his wife to avoid suspicion of organ trafficking or unsavory reasons when he donated her his kidney. Seems like a case of Thou Doth Protest Too Much.
  • Adorea of Franken Fran has this in her backstory: she and her boyfriend had life-threatening illnesses, and they each promised they would give their organs to the other should one of them pass away. The boyfriend died first, so Fran's father donated the organs to Adorea before working his magic on the boyfriend to revive him; the callous boyfriend demanded the organs back, turning Adorea into the... uh... "person" who she is now.
  • One of the murderers in The Kindaichi Case Files has trying to find a matching kidney for his sick daughter in his backstory — he got involved in the Organ Theft business, and the man he murdered found out and was blackmailing him over this.
  • In Pet Shop of Horrors, the dictator of a country is hiding out in America and is in need of an organ transplant. The doctors decide to use the heart of a baboon to do the job, only for said baboon to be kidnapped. Cue a mad rush to find the thing, for fear of sparking a messy political situation. Then it turns out that the kidnapper is a man whose daughter also needs a heart transplant. The dictator winds up being sniped by someone from his country and they end up giving the baboon's heart to the girl after all. Oh, and there's a subplot where D is apparently suffering from some disease and his "sister" is sent by their father to give her dear brother any of her organs or body parts to cure him. She herself is actually a baboon and is killed by the shop's pets when D refuses to accept her offer and she attacks him. Needless to say, it was a creepy story.
  • A running theme in Ray the Animation and the manga which it is based on. Ray herself was raised on a farm designed to provide black market organs; this was how she lost her eyes, only to have them replaced by X-ray eyes.
  • Purely hypothetical in Strawberry Marshmallow: Miu is claiming that her friendship with Chika is closer than that of Ana and Matsuri. One test is what one friend would do if the other needed the first's organs. Matsuri and Ana would definitely do so, even though Matsuri asks what would happen to her if she were the donor (Matsuri seems to forget for a moment that it is hypothetical and starts crying); Chika is more ambivalent but comes to the conclusion that she "probably" would, provided that she herself would live. Miu claims that "there's no way I'm giving you any of my organs, though".
  • In Tokyo Babylon, Yuya had an unidentified kidney disorder, which had already killed his twin older sister Maya. Even though his condition kept worsening to the point of emergency surgery he was still on the waiting list, so Subaru eventually decides to donate his own kidney to Yuya. He arrives just after Yuya's taken to emergency surgery again, and Yuya's unnamed mother flips out and attacks him. Seishiro blocks the knife, and Subaru is too upset to do anything. The plotline is never resolved.

    Fan Fiction 
  • My Little Titan: Part of Rainbow Dash's backstory, shared by her counterpart in The Perfect Match, a fic by the same author. In both stories, when Rainbow Dash was a filly, she came down with a viral disease that attacks and destroys the kidneys and would have died without a donor kidney. Her life was saved when Fluttershy had herself tested, turned out to be a perfect match, and Stared the doctors and her parents into letting her donate.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, Mr. Freeze's wife Nora will die without an organ transplant. They get through the movie without ever specifying which organ it is that she needs; it's implied that she needs several. It turns out a compatible donor... happens to be Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl. By the end of the movie, Nora is saved, thanks to Wayne Enterprise assistance.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Airplane!, one of the passengers is being flown to receive a new heart.
  • This happens in Awake when Clay's mother kills herself in the hospital waiting room to assure he gets a healthy heart.
  • Blood Work has a detective investigating the murder of the woman whose heart he got.
  • The plot of Dumb and Dumber To is jumpstarted by Harry requiring a kidney transplant and needing to find his long-lost daughter to obtain one. It turns out that Harry was faking the whole time, to get back at Lloyd's overlong mental institution prank.
  • In The Eye, a woman receives an eye transplant that helps her see into the supernatural.
  • A villainous example in Get the Gringo as it is Javi who needs a liver transplant and has been keeping the Kid alive for when he needs it. In addition, it is stated that he had already murdered the Kid's father for his liver some time ago.
  • Gods, being about pioneer heart transplant, naturally features this.
  • John Q. has the title character taking a hospital's emergency room hostage to get his son a heart transplant he can't afford to pay for and his insurance refuses to cover. Further, when there's no suitable donor heart available, he starts planning to kill himself to provide one. He's stopped seconds before he pulls the trigger, when one suddenly becomes available.
  • A gay French shorts called La dérade has a variation of this as the main plot. Simon is in need of heart transplant and hides his condition from his lover, a sailor named François. He does get a donor for transplant in the end, but it comes from François who dies after a car crash when he is on the way to his five-week sailing duty to South Africa. The shorts tells the aftermath of the transplant when Simon is still grieving over François' death as he has a hallucination of talking to François.
  • One of the subplots in Mercenaries from Hong Kong has one of the mercenaries, Sergeant Tai, needing to raise funds for his little ill daughter, who needs a kidney transplant in an expensive procedure available only in the US which Tai cannot afford (hence his acceptance of a Suicide Mission). Unfortunately the Sergeant dies partway through the film, and it's up to his best friend, the protagonist Luo Li to continue his mission.
  • In Return to Me, the female lead's recent heart transplant provides some major plot when she finds out the guy she's dating is the donor's widower.
  • Seven Pounds is about The Atoner looking for worthy recipients of his organs before he commits suicide.
  • Science fiction variant in Star Wars: When R2D2 returns from the attack on the Death Star with some structural damage, C3PO offers to donate any of his circuits or gears that might be needed to repair his companion. Awwww....
  • The Luc Besson produced and written French film Yamakasi is about the namesake group of practitioners of Le Parkour (the actors themselves came up with the word), who do it illegally. A young boy with heart problems tries to imitate them one day, and falls unconscious and in need of a heart transplant as a result. Feeling guilty, the Yamakasi decide to gather enough money to pay him a transplant, by using their Parkour skills to break into the houses of rich doctors and stealing them money and goods.

  • This is the backstory in Blood Work, in which an FBI profiler gets the heart from a murder victim. He ends up solving the case. It turns out that the serial killer was killing compatible donors for him.
  • The Known Space story The Defenseless Dead has a law being debated which will enable those in cold storage to be harvested for their organs. While this will undercut the illegal Organ Theft trade, the detective protagonist is still horrified, especially when he suspects that some former organleggers are planning their own scheme so as to make money regardless.
  • This is a very common plot Lurlene McDaniel's stories:
    • In Let Him Live, the heroine befriends and falls in love with a boy who desperately needs a liver transplant. He doesn't make it.
    • She Died Too Young has the complication of a heart being available, but two girls need a transplant. The heroine of that particular book gets the heart while the other girl dies.
    • Katie O'Roark gets a heart transplant in her debut book. She survives to the end of the One Last Wish series and gets married to her longtime boyfriend.
    • The short story "Laura's Heart" has heroine Laura receive the heart of a boy she fell in love with, who was gunned down. He had a feeling his death was imminent, as he'd escaped a gang, and signed the donor forms in advance.
  • This trope, plus Walking Transplant, plus Calling the Old Woman Out sparks the plot of My Sister's Keeper. The girl was conceived and born so that she would provide organ donations to her ill sister.
  • Never Let Me Go starts off as a slightly creepy story about some kids in a boarding school. About a quarter of the way through we find out that the kids are clones being raised to provide organs. By the end we find out that most clones are indoctrinated so much that they keep giving organs until they end up comatose organ mines.
  • This turns out to be the basic underlying scheme in Strange Affair by Peter Robinson.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock gives us the entire episode "Kidney Now!", in which Jack Donaghy, having found his biological father Milton Green, discovers that Green needs a kidney transplant. Since he himself is incompatible, he organizes a benefit concert by blackmailing a bunch of celebrities to sing on national television in the hopes that it might convince someone to donate a compatible kidney.
  • In one episode of Babylon 5, Londo ends up needing a blood transfusion but has a very rare blood type. He is saved by a transfusion from his wife Timov (who states that blood type is the only thing they have in common). While she gets Dr Franklin to promise to not say where the blood came from, the spin-off novels set after the series state that he eventually figured it out.
  • Chicago Hope has a few episodes dealing with this.
  • Criminal Minds: One episode has victims being "underkilled" (shot with glancing blows that leave them clinging to life) and left at places symbolic of rescue (like an ER parking lot). The BAU ponders the implications for a while before realizing that it's practical: all of the victims are organ donors, and the unsub wants them to be brain-dead but viable for transplant because his daughter needs a kidney. When she still fails to get one, he resorts to murdering someone ahead of her on the list. In the end, he kills himself, since he was a match but unsuitable for a living donation due to his own health problems.
  • CSI:
  • In the CSI: Cyber episode "Fit-and-Run", the criminals turn out to be a husband-father duo desperately searching for a replacement kidney for their dying wife/daughter, who suffers from a genetic kidney disease and has been deemed inoperable. By the time the team tracks them down, the father (a recently retired army surgeon) has already succeeded transplanting a kidney from an involuntary donor into his daughter, but since the duo made sure to target young people in good physical health who also had the correct blood type, the donor and the daughter both live as the husband and father are arrested.
  • The CSI: NY episode "Live or Let Die" has a variation with the doctor's wife needing the liver. He orchestrates a medical helicopter hijacking and kills several people in the process. Mac is naturally not amused, especially recalling his own pain and loss, and tells the guy he will likely be in prison when his wife dies.
  • In Curb Your Enthusiasm, Richard Lewis is in need of a kidney. Larry and Jeff find out that both their kidneys are compatible and compete to see who will give the kidney. Larry ends up giving it in the season finale.
  • Earth: Final Conflict: Liam Kincaid anonymously donates blood to Ronald Sandoval. Notable because the doctor said it had to be from a first-degree relative (parent or child) to work. Furthermore, Sandoval considers Liam his enemy while Liam's feelings for his human father are a little more complicated.
  • A final season plotline of ER has John Carter in renal failure due to both injuries he received when stabbed nine years prior and an infection he picked up while working in Africa. He finally receives a kidney towards the end of the season.
  • The Farscape two-part story "Nerve"/"The Hidden Memory" initially involves Aeryn needing a nerve graft to save her life after an injury she gets in the previous episode.
  • In the third season of Forever Knight, Nick and co investigate a black-market organ ring. Natalie is scheduled for a knee surgery and has the misfortune to have a doctor who's connected to it somehow and who's the mother of a girl who needs a heart transplant. She nearly ends up an unwilling donor, but Nick gets there just in time.
  • General Hospital: Seven-year-old B.J. Jones is left brain dead after her school bus crashed. Her parents, Tony and Bobbie, take her off life support and donate B.J.'s heart to her cousin, Maxie, whose heart is failing. The story won much critical acclaim and is regarded as a groundbreaker and one of the best stories to date. It can be viewed here. (It has been ripped off by several other Soap OperasAll My Children, Days of Our Lives, Guiding Light, and even General Hospital itself — ten years after the B.J.'s heart storyline, a premature baby's bone marrow is donated to save the life of another infant who is revealed to be her half-sister.)
  • Grey's Anatomy, many times. The most noteworthy is Denny Dukett, who falls in love with Izzy and is about to get a donor heart when the donor dies, meaning that there's only one heart left at that hospital, and it's going to go to another person. Izzy cuts his LVAD wire, purposefully worsening his health to bump him up the list. He survives and gets the transplant, but later dies of a stroke.
  • Haven features someone whose Trouble causes his organs to fail, and thus he needs transplants. He then can steal the organs of his children using an Overly-Long Tongue, which also triggers their Trouble if they manage to live. Duke ends up killing him to end the Trouble permanently.
  • House, oh so many times:
    • There's an episode in which a father kills himself to give one of his organs to his son.
    • In one episode, a patient has to find a kidney on the black market.
    • Another episode has a brain-dead donor who'd be perfect for a man with an ailing heart — they just have to figure out what's wrong with her so that the donor board will sign off on it.
    • Another episode has a very unusual Patient of the Week: a donated pair of lungs in a box that are supposed to be implanted but can't be because they have some kind of illness, so House is called in to cure them.
  • Law & Order:
    • "Sonata for a Solo Organ" features a millionaire philanthropist who is so desperate to acquire a kidney for his dying daughter (with the added complication that, due to a rare condition, she will reject any organs provided from any donor who is not a specific match to her blood type) that he bribes a doctor to kidnap some guy, steal his kidney then dump him in a park. This episode may have contributed to the persistence of the "kidney theft" urban legend.
    • In "Seed", the attorneys are thwarted in their effort to prosecute a fertility doctor who used his own sperm for his IVF patients when their best witnesses refuse to testify. The couple did not want it to become public that they had their second child (via IVF by the doctor) to provide bone marrow for a transplant for their first child, who had leukemia. The marrows did not match, and the first child died.
    • "Harvest" has a woman being shot in the head during a robbery and declared brain-dead. Her grieving husband agrees to donate her organs, only for it to turn out that she isn't dead yet, and that the transplant doctor has accelerated the process in order to improve his record.
  • In the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Ex Stasis", the villain is giving away his organs to people he feels deserve it and killing them (in such a way that the organ can be transplanted into someone else) if they don't live up to the "bargain". In the end, they get him to confess in exchange for allowing him to continue donating his organs while in prison.
  • Law & Order: SVU:
    • One episode centers around a black-market organ ring, with one of the would-be patients being a young boy. Stabler is forced to shut it down, but he and the others are clearly sympathetic.
    • In a much later episode, a doctor harvests the organs of a brain-dead child without her parents' consent, and Olivia is forced to stop a helicopter from transporting the girl's heart, even though a child is likely to die without it. She does, but it's clear that she's extremely troubled by this decision (and Fin actually suggests they could "[get there] too late" to stop the helicopter). Both Benson and the little girl's father later express regret that they didn't just let the heart go to the other child.
  • In Leverage, "The Cross My Heart Job" features a rich businessman who attempted to steal a heart that was intended to be transplanted for a teenage boy. Unfortunately for him and fortunately for the boy, Nate and his team find out about this and are able to recover the heart. It is interesting due to the limited amount of time that the team has to work with.
  • Lost: Anthony Cooper shows the true depth of his sociopathy when he pretends to reconcile with his son in order to convince him to donate his kidney, then abandon him after the operation.
  • Martial Law has an episode in which a heart intended for a governor's daughter is stolen before it can be delivered.
  • The M*A*S*H episode "Life Time" deals with a soldier who needs an aorta for his heart and will either die or wind up paralyzed if not treated within a certain amount of time. There's one possibility for getting a suitable replacement, but it involves BJ waiting around for a fatally wounded soldier to die, which the soldier's buddy does not appreciate.
  • This happens quite a lot in Monday Mornings with interesting twists. Dr. Tierney's transplant program is in the center of attention as much as the brilliant neurosurgeries, which appear to be the show's main hook, apart from the M&M meetings (M&M stands for morbidity and mortality).
    • When a young gangster dies, his organs are harvested and transplanted to various people. The drama lies in Dr Tierney's insensitivity. He spoke about it in front of the dead kid's mother without knowing who she was. When he tried to apologize, he unfortunately insulted her and hurt her more by implying that her son's life was worthy only because he enabled several people to live.
    • One episode had a scheduled operation for kidney transplantation. A young women agreed to give up her kidney for her sister's benefit. The sister who was to receive it dies during the operation. Naturally, they assume someone else could get it, but the woman wants it back, and um, she wants to eat it. She's sane, it's just that her grieving rituals are not western.
    • A young man is badly hurt, and everybody assumes that he was a jumper. They are reluctant to treat him, but they do. He might end up a donor, but they actually need organs for him. The team's attitude changes when they find out that he didn't try to commit suicide, but somebody pushed him. Dr. Hooten calls them out for it during their "screw-ups meetings" and is extremely harsh on them because suicidal people are considered ill, and they are not losers unwilling to live.
    • One woman who is brain-dead has already signed up to be a donor, but her son doesn't want her organs to be used. They want to legally stop the transplantations and argue that she didn't know what she gave consent to.
  • One episode of NCIS: New Orleans involves a Child Prodigy who needs a heart transplant. In this case, the problem isn't finding a viable heart for him; the problem is recovering it when it's stolen.
  • One episode of NUMB3RS involves a group of Indian girls brought to the U.S. to sell their kidneys to a black-market organ ring. Two girls and one recipient end up dead, and a third girl just barely dodges being killed as well.
  • NYPD Blue: Bobby Simone needs a heart but is far down the list, so they ask all the cops in NYC going out on patrol that day to make sure that they sign up for organ donation and stipulate it goes to a cop, just in case. The one who ends up dying didn't sign up, and they have to convince his widow to allow them to take his heart. Bobby dies anyway.
  • In One Tree Hill, Dan spends several seasons searching for a heart transplant. The day of his surgery, a clumsy orderly trips and drops the heart — which is then eaten by a nearby dog in one of the most infamous television scenes in recent memory.
  • Oz: Neo-Nazi inmate Robson makes the mistake of racially insulting the dentist giving him a gum transplant, resulting in him being implanted with gums from a black man. At first, this is Played for Laughs given that Robson is an Asshole Victim, but it quickly becomes Nightmare Fuel once he's thrown out of the Aryan Brotherhood.
  • One of many Court Cases of the Week in Picket Fences concerns an elderly man with Alzheimer's who wants the legal right to commit suicide under controlled conditions in the hospital so that his dying son can receive his heart. A very moving episode, in that the plaintiff is coherent at certain times of day (the "sundowning" phenomenon) and plainly incompetent at others. The son eventually gets the heart of a homeless man who'd frozen to death instead... only to wind up shooting his dad to spare his dignity after finding him stark naked astride a child's rocking horse. Cue the next Court Case of the Week.
  • The Pretender: In the episode "Countdown", a schoolboy is in a car crash; one of his kidneys fails immediately, and the other is expected to go within a couple of days. Finding a match is complicated by him have a rare hereditary blood condition that the donor must also have — and it turns out that neither of his parents has it. His mother confesses that she had a fling with another man shortly before she married, and the race is on to find that man and persuade him to save the son he doesn't know he has.
  • The Serial Killer of the week in the Profiler episode "Dying to Live" murders people with a rare blood type in order to help people with that blood type in need of organs.
  • In Psych, someone kills a number of people on the regional liver transplant list, in an apparent attempt to move their own name to the top. It's a case of Artistic License – Medicine, as the woman in need of the transplant has an identical twin, who should've been able to voluntarily donate a liver lobe to her sister without recourse to the donor list.
  • In's "The Third Wheel", Jack tries to accept that he’s not a match for his mother’s bone marrow transplant.
  • In the Scrubs episode "My Lunch", a recurring character commits suicide and three other patients receive organs from her. However, it turns out that she didn't die of a drug overdose, but rather of rabies, and now the other patients have it too. All three die, and while two of them would never have survived long enough to find another donor anyway, one could easily have held on long enough if they hadn't been infected. Truth in Television: This episode was based on a real case.
  • Sisters: Big Al, second husband of oldest sister Alex, is in need of a donor heart and gets one on the day of second-oldest sister Teddy's wedding.
  • In Soap, Danny gets shot through both of his kidneys protecting his girlfriend/police witness. Mary, his mother, can't give him one so his brother, Jodie, offers his up except Mary is forced to reveal that they aren't full brothers and that Danny's real father is actually Chester, who Mary convinces to give up a kidney.
  • Touched by an Angel: One episode focuses on a young girl who needs a new heart, while her friend tries to convince a man to donate his brain-dead wife's. Unusually for both this trope and this show, the girl dies. On the plus side, the grieving husband finally accepts his wife's death, allowing her organs to be used to save others.
  • Walker, Texas Ranger: In Season 9's "Faith", a liver intended for a young girl, the titular character, is accidentally stolen when bank robbers hijack the ambulance carrying it; they need the medics to tend to one of their own and have no knowledge of or interest in the organ. Regardless of the circumstances, the Rangers are left with very little time to catch the robbers, rescue the kidnapped EMT and recover the liver.
  • In the Without a Trace episode "Revelations", the Victim of the Week is a priest in need of a liver transplant. His colleagues and the agents fear he may have met with foul play when they notice that he hasn't taken the pager that will alert him if one becomes available. And since one has, there is an urgent need to find him both before he dies or it goes to someone else. It turns out that he disappeared on his own to make amends to someone he hurt before becoming a priest and has decided to accept his impending death.
  • "The Goldberg Variation" from The X-Files has a boy whose liver doesn't work well (Scully diagnoses him just by looking at him), and he needs either a transplant or to get in a special treatment program in England. He's got a rare blood type and further complications. He makes it through. A perfect match is found in a Mafioso who is killed near the end of the episode (this Contrived Coincidence is justified as the Mystery of the Week involves a man who is Born Lucky).

    Video Games 
  • In Hitman (2016), Providence convinced Director Erich Soders to betray the ICA in return for a heart transplant, as Soders has situs inversus (all of his organs are inverted when compared to a regular person), he requires an extremely rare "inverted" heart that only Providence can procure (with a shotgun and a beer cooler).
  • Jade Empire has a sidequest involving a young girl whose liver is dying, and her father has come up with a way to replace an organ, but he needs a new or preserved liver. Your options are to convince him to use his own liver or to convince a ghost to atone for his sins by giving you his preserved liver.
  • Rimworld: Since the game smooths over incompatibilities, getting one of your colonists a new organ to replace a failing one (damaged hearts, cirrhosis-melted livers, chemically damaged kidneys, cancer and bullet-afflicted organs) is as simple as ripping it out of another colonist. Or, better yet, one of the many Raiders that will try to kill your colony. Indeed, you can replace your favorite pawn's clogged heart with that of some random space pirate that's barely alive after stepping on a landmine... and sell the other organs to the next trader.
  • The SEGA Shadowrun game has a sidequest in which you must steal a prototype cyber-heart for a mercenary whose body has been fitted with so much cyberware that his regular heart is too weak to continue sustaining him.

    Web Animation 
  • Happy Tree Friends: In the episode "A Change of Heart", Lumpy searches for a new heart for Disco Bear after his gets clogged and deflated. He initially steals one from a dead Handy, only for it to get destroyed. He eventually has no choice but to steal a whale's heart and force it into Disco Bear's body.

    Western Animation 
  • In the 2022 episode "Kidney" in Beavis and Butt-Head Old Beavis sits on the couch for several days straight and doesn't go to the bathroom, just so he doesn't have to sit on the side of the couch with a spring sticking out. As a result, both of his kidneys explode like water balloons, and he desperately needs a kidney transplant. The only eligible donor is Old Stewart, and even though the operation is a success, Old Beavis can't take having a "wuss" kidney and drinks until the donated kidney pops.
  • One episode of Chilly Beach has Dale's estranged brother show up out of the blue and mention that he needs a kidney. Dale is quite reluctant to go through with it, however, a guy gives him a shout-down for letting his brother die. As it turns out, Dale's incompatible with his brother. Frank, on the other hand...
  • In one episode of King of the Hill, John Force (the head of the National Hot Rod Association) needs a kidney transplant and Dale is a compatible donor. Then it turns out that John was completely fine but Hank (who is holding Dale's Power of Attorney) is told by the doctors that there is a little boy who can use the kidney, but Hank hesitates. When asked who would even think of hesitating to save a little boy's life, Hank replies "Dale would". Fortunately, Dale ends up giving the little boy his kidney anyway.
  • One episode of The Simpsons has Grandpa's kidneys burst, and he eventually wheedles one out of Homer. It's mentioned that "You've dramatically shortened your lifespan so someone else can enjoy a few more short years of life." The episode ends with Homer patting one of Bart's kidneys...
  • In South Park, Kyle becomes seriously ill when one of his kidneys fails. His mission to get hold of one is hampered by a sudden craze for alternative medicine, leaving all the adults in the town dismissive of his ailment. Worse, the only potential donor with a compatible blood type is Cartman, who takes great pleasure in the idea of watching him die.
  • The Venture Bros.: Dr. Venture finds himself in need of two kidneys after he wakes up in a tubful of ice and a kidney-shaped set of stitches in his back. He ends up taking one from each of his sons, who have been cloned multiple times because each keeps dying in some stupid fashion.
  • Young Justice (2010): In the Season One episode "Coldhearted", the young Queen Perdita of Vlatava desperately needed a heart transplant. The problem is that the only viable donator heart is in Boston while she is on the other side of the country in Seattle. To make matters worse, her evil uncle Count Vertigo, with the help of the Light, attempts to indirectly kill her by unleashing four flying ice fortresses that cover the entire North American Continent in a huge blizzard, thus preventing the hospitals from being able to transport the donator heart by air. Kid Flash has to use his Super-Speed to transport the heart 3000 miles (4800km) across the country before the heart is no longer viable in four hours. He manages to successfully transport the heart and save Perdita's life while also exposing Count Vertigo's attempted murder scheme, allowing Perdita to revoke his Diplomatic Immunity and place him under arrest.

    Real Life 
  • When NBA player Alonzo Mourning needed a new kidney, he got countless offers from his fans to get a new kidney; Mourning told them to register their names with the Red Cross instead and is currently lobbying for legislation to make it easier for others to get new kidneys.note 
  • One of those sidebar stories in Reader's Digest tells the tale of a woman who received a heart transplant and (unknowingly) struck up a romance with the grieving widower, wondering why he'd always caress her chest where her heart lay.
  • Controversy surrounded baseball great Mickey Mantle in 1995 when he received a liver transplant. The objections were: 1.) Alcoholism and hard living had destroyed his first liver, but 2.) he received the transplant after a short wait, jumping ahead of others who had been waiting much longer, and 3.) he died soon afterward anyway.
  • When a young Canadian woman named Helene Campbell found out that she had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and would die without a double lung transplant, she started a social media campaign to document her condition and encourage people to register as organ donors. She eventually received a new set of lungs. Her work as an advocate continues today.