Transplant recipients are encouraged to write anonymous thank-you letters to the donor family. We prospectively explored heart transplant recipients' embodied responses to the 'obligation' to write a thank-you letter using audio/video-taped open-ended interviews (N = 27). Fifteen of the 19 participants, who wrote letters to the donor family, expressed or visually revealed significant distress about issues such as the obligation to write anonymously and the inadequacy of the 'thank-you'. Writing the thank-you letter is not a neutral experience for heart transplant recipients. Rethinking the obligatory practice regarding the thank-you letter and developing the necessary support for the recipient through this process is necessary.
©2011 The Authors Journal compilation©2011 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.