My Sister’s Keeper My Sister’s Keeper

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My Sister’s Keeper A fortnight ago, I had a chance to watch the movie ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ as part of our Psychiatry curriculum. It was a heart-wrenching story told from the viewpoint of a 13 year old girl Anna Fitzgerald, who was born by means of in-vitro fertilization, in order to serve as a matched tissue donor for her older sister Kate, who suffers from leukemia. Kate is 15 years old now, and has been able to survive till date due to the tissue harvesting from her younger sister Anna, at various stages of life. Besides Anna and Kate, other members of the family consist of their father Brian, mother Sara and brother Jesse. Their mother is the one who has been devotionally leading the painstaking campaign to keep Kate alive, and to some extent has been successful, albeit with Anne’s ‘help’. Psychologically speaking, she is in the ‘bargaining’ stage of the five stages of grief. She has been doing everything to add days to her ailing daughter’s life. In their pursuit to keep Kate alive, the parents have tended to ignore their other two children. But now Kate’s condition is becoming worse. Her kidneys are failing. Her mother wants Anna to donate one her kidneys to her sister, and gives proxy consent for it. But Anna refuses to oblige. What follows is a complex story of human emotions, relations, freedom and frustrations. The family bonding and the love between the siblings is brutally tested when Anna decides to go to the court in order to get ‘right to her own body’. Her decision comes as a shock to the family especially her mother, and is threatening to tear the family apart. Should the family respect her right to decide for herself and let Kate die or force her to donate and curb her basic rights? This is a question to which there is no simple answer. I dully sympathize with the parents who cannot see their daughter die in front of their eyes. But I

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