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Basch, S.H. (1973). The Intrapsychic Integration of a New Organ—A Clinical Study of Kidney Transplantation. Psychoanal Q., 42:364-384.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:364-384

The Intrapsychic Integration of a New Organ—A Clinical Study of Kidney Transplantation

Samuel H. Basch, M.D.


Nine recipients of family donated kidneys and nineteen recipients of cadaver kidneys were observed. Pre-existing family conflicts in the consanguineous recipients were heightened by the transplantation. Specific dyadic relationships reflected particular psychodynamic patterns, such as the dynamics comparable to those of parturition exhibited in the mother donor-child recipient cases. Recipients of cadaver kidneys seemed affected by their fantasies about the cadaver and their attitudes toward death and dying. They identified with the lifeless, inert

traits of the donors, and two patients took death-related jobs. Cross-sexual and homosexual aspects of transplantation were observed to affect the patients. Conflict over guilt and indebtedness was also present. Although most transplantation patients make a satisfactory adjustment, some have serious difficulties integrating the new organ into their body image, and pathologic introjections, denial, and other ego disruptive sequelae may follow. The evidence demands that psychological screening be as thorough as physiological screening of kidney recipient and donor.

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