Suicide.....heart transplant.....suicide......jeez.

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Hello.there, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. Hello.there macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2007

    Man given heart of suicide victim marries donor's widow and then kills himself in exactly the same way

    (Note from me: Is the longest wacky headline in the history of long wacky headlines?)

    A man who received the transplanted heart of a suicide victim has killed himself in exactly the same way.

    And, astonishingly, the same wife is mourning all over again.

    Sonny Graham, who had received Terry Cottle's heart, also went on to marry his widow.

    The couple met after Mr Graham started writing to her after being told her husband was his heart donor.

    Twelve years after the successful transplant operation, Mr Graham shot himself dead, leaving his wife a widow for the second time in strikingly similar circumstances.

    Friends said Mrs Graham, a nurse, is stunned by the bizarre turn of events.

    Officials in Vidalia, Georgia, said Mr Graham, 69, died after shooting himself in the throat with a shotgun.

    He was found in a garage at the home the couple shared.

    In 1995, Mr Graham had been on the verge of death due to congestive heart failure.

    He had less than six months to live when the call came through from the Medical University of South Carolina, telling him that a heart had just become available.

    It belonged to Mr Cottle, 33, who had committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

    Mr Graham went to the hospital from his home nearby and the heart was transplanted that day.

    He did not know the identity of the donor, only that the heart belonged to a 33-year-old man.

    A year later, Mr Graham contacted the organ donation agency wanting to thank the man's family for the gift of life.

    He began writing to Mr Cottle's young widow Cheryl, a mother of four. The couple later met, fell in love, married and moved to Georgia.

    Speaking shortly after their wedding, Mrs Graham said: "It helped me so much.

    "Meeting Sonny made it easier for me, knowing something so good came from something so bad."

    Friends of Mr Graham said he had not shown any signs of being depressed.

    Scientists say there are more than 70 documented cases of transplant patients having personality changes as they take on some of the characteristics of the donor.

    Last month, a woman from Lancashire claimed her literary tastes changed radically following a kidney transplant.

    Cheryl Johnson used to enjoy celebrity biographies and best sellers such as The Da Vinci Code.

    But now she prefers classics such as Jane Austen's Persuasion and Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment.

    Character changes in transplant recipients are known as cellular memory phenomenon.

    However, medical experts are sceptical about the concept and insist there is little convincing evidence.

  2. iTeen macrumors 65816


    Aug 13, 2007
    Really really creepy :D...
    What a sad story....
  3. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    Very creepy. Especially that last part about 70 cases of the recipient taking on the donor's traits. I bet people are going to start thinking twice about who is their donor from now on!
  4. 119576 Guest


    Aug 6, 2007
    The common element is the wife.

    The heart thing is just a coincidence.

    ...I could be on CSI.
  5. Hello.there thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2007
    Can this woman sue the estate of the kidney donor? C'mon on - Jane Austen! :mad:

    Secondly, is any one just a little bit suspicious of the widow?

    Hmm, me too.

    You beat me to it! A right suspicious pair we are :)
  6. nomar383 macrumors 65816


    Jan 29, 2008
    Rexburg, ID
    Holy Crap, you're right! She must be a real BIT...I mean....I'm sorry for her loss
  7. John.B macrumors 601


    Jan 15, 2008
    Holocene Epoch
  8. twoodcc macrumors P6


    Feb 3, 2005
    Right side of wrong
    now that is crazy....and creepy.

    really weird. makes you wonder though
  9. kainjow Moderator emeritus


    Jun 15, 2000
  10. Stampyhead macrumors 68020


    Sep 3, 2004
    London, UK
    Whatever. That person did her a favor. She moved up in the world by ditching the trash and getting into real works of literary art.
  11. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2007
    Iowa City, Iowa
    1. There is no medical reason why a donor heart should impart any characteristics to the new recipient. It isn't possible from a neurological point of view (memory neurobiology, while not well established, makes this case fairly clear... no hardware in the heart to carry memory).

    2. Sampling bias (both donor and recipient) obfuscate meaningful interpretations.

    3. Several reliability studies have been conducted. Generally, it is accepted based on the results that these patients are simply responding to an established meme concerning transplant recipients. Many patients claiming to have certain characteristics were way off base when compared to donor's characteristics.

    4. Suicide is many times more common than a heart transplant. That the methodology to carry it out was similar is coincidental, but not outside of believability.

    5. Knowledge is power!

    Great story, no medical plausibility. Sorry for you spooky types, but it just isn't medically possible. Ah, the lingering and pervasive influence of spiritual ideas concerning the heart as the seat of the soul...
  12. theLimit macrumors 6502a


    Jan 30, 2007
    up tha holler, acrost tha crick
    Sounds like a good story for Twilight Zone/Outer Limits/Amazing Stories. Err, I believe all three did a similar story already. :rolleyes:
  13. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    "There is no known medical reason.." surely. I very much doubt they can conclusively rule it out either.
  14. arkitect macrumors 603


    Sep 5, 2005
    Bath, United Kingdom
  15. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Except that memory is stored in the brain. The only way I would accept as a legitimate change in behaviors is a brain transplant, though I suppose it would be more correct to say a body transplant since the brain stores all of our knowledge.

    I should think it to be more likely that people whom take on personality traits of their donor, either knew the donor or had contact with the donors family afterward. Either case would be adequate to provide enough information to either consciously or subconsciously take on their traights. Then their is also coincidence with 70 cases out of thousands of transplant patients I would say these people probably tend to be easily led into believing they have taken on traits of their donor, like people who believe in the generalizations of "psychics", when they most likely made changes in their life after the transplant and a few of those changes are somewhat similar to there donor.
  16. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    kinda creepy. odd story, but ultimately sad in the end.
  17. jimN macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2005
    For one thing, I don't think that people awaiting transplant are really in a position to start fussing about the literary tastes of whoever the organ came from. In this particular case a man killed himself by gunshot (common amongst men in the states as violent suicides are more prevalent in men and guns are available) and the organ is then given to a man who forges a relationship with the deceased's wife. Not unsurprising given she was grieving and found a certain kinship with this man who was at the time experiencing a new lease of life. Finally, after 12 years of living with a transplant and coping with all the crap that goes with it plus the likelihood that I expect it probably wasn't in great shape after that amount of time, he kills himself using a popular method.

    There's nothing to see here, move along.
  18. Macgirl87 macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2007
    Can't think of any viable medical reason for this to be true, but nevertheless I believe it's possible. How sad.
  19. Antares macrumors 68000


    Less you forget the theory of genetic memory.

    And what if this was a similar case to that recent story of a girl who had a liver (or was it kidney?) transplant?....the girl's immune system changed to that of the donor's. The donor liver cells invaded her bone marrow and modified it. Now, it is rare (but not unusual) for cells from a donor organ to change and affect the recipient's other organs. In addition to the neurological causes of suicide, the biological roots can be related to chemical imbalances/changes in both the body and the brain. It is perfectly reasonable to hypothesize that the donor heart, in this suicide case, induced such changes in the recipient's body....thus leading to and inducing his own propensity toward suicide.
  20. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    Shooting is the most common method of suicide in the U.S. among males. So this coincidence isn't really so amazing. It's certainly possible that the wife's behavior had some influence, though.
  21. iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
    She sure took her time, this time, before biting her husband on the neck. :eek:
  22. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    If I received a heart via transplant, I'd definitely try to avoid some weirdo like Richard Simmons. I mean yes, he's a healthy fellow, and he has really smooth legs (for a man), but those shorts........I don't want to wear those shorts.

    *shakes head*
  23. Everythingisnt macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2008
    Could easily be psychological.

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