So far, Kevin Gosling is Conservative Joe’s man of the year. Why? Because not only has he done something wonderful and selfless, but he actually expanded personal time, effort, and money to ensure that he did so. It is also something that I doubt I would find the need or the courage to do, much to my own shame.
After seeing first hand what a difference a liver donation had made to a friend’s family two years ago, Kevin decided that he would love to be able to help somebody in such a profound way. So, he went about looking into the procedure of donating part of his liver.
When asked about his motives, Kevin answered pointedly, “It’s difficult to explain. I just wanted to help. I’m young, I’m capable, I’m willing. It’s very heartbreaking to know people on the wait list are dying.” He was, of course, referring to the liver transplant waiting list. 1 out of every 4 people on the wait list in Toronto died last year, and Mr. Gosling said that was a great motivator.
Such human compassion and selflessness is rare. How rare? Well, it appears that should one actually demonstrate such charitable love towards a stranger, then a psychiatric evaluation is warranted. Not only warranted, but deemed medically necessary.
Doctors at Toronto General Hospital were stymied as to why this man, unknown to the family whom he wished to help, wanted to jeopardize a seemingly normal existence to do something extraordinary. The medical staff simply couldn’t fathom a complete stranger endangering his own life in an act of kindness.
As a result, Mr. Gosling was sent to not one, not two, but three different psychiatric examinations. I don’t know whether to find the fact that he was asked to undergo this testing as funny or tragically sad. I would hate to ponder the possibility that we have become so detached from humanity as individuals that selflessness displayed by strangers has become symptomatic of some sort of psychosis.
Doctors at the University Health Network, of which Toronto General is a part, had to be sure that there would be a benefit to both parties involved in such an operation. Linda Wright, a bioethicist with the network put it plainly: “We can’t harm one person just for the benefit of another person We had to be sure that we felt that there was a benefit to the donor as well as to the recipient.”
Mr. Gosling apparently succeeded in convincing the medical staff of his purest of motives. The 11th of 13 children, and a father to 3 daughters, Kevin reiterated that his sole intention was to give to somebody else. That gift just happened to be the most precious of all; a second chance at a life that most of us simply take too much for granted.
I have little doubt of how Mr. Gosling is feeling right now. Men such as him do not consider themselves heroic. They simply believe that we should all have as much compassion on each other as we would wish to have showered upon ourselves in times of need. The simple fact is, though, that people who actually purpose to do such a thing are in such short supply in our society that whenever one chooses to do the right thing, they become an unwitting beacon of hope to us all.
Not until times of dire consequence do many of us think upon the gift of life. Mr. Gosling simply chooses to think on it more than the rest of us. He is an inspiration, a teacher, and a credit to his faith. Let’s hope that we can all see the subject matter of his lesson; love, charity, faith, and compassion.