Arts > Living with the consequences

06 July 2016 | by D.J. Taylor

Living with the consequences


The first instalment of Mike Wooldridge’s new four-parter (3 July) began deep in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. This – with forays into South Dakota – was the setting for an immensely poignant account of the tribulations visited upon an extended Denver family named Arnold, numbers of whom had been directly affected by the fallout of a heart-rending dilemma centred on thirtysomething Chad.

The Heart and Soul dilemmas are predominantly faith-based, and the Arnolds clearly needed every ounce of Christian fortitude they possessed to negotiate their way out of his one. In his mid-twenties, Chad began to show symptoms of liver disease. The doctors advised a transplant, if possible – given that the liver is the only organ with the capacity to regenerate – from a live donor. Shortly afterwards a candidate presented himself, in the shape of Chad’s younger brother, Ryan.

Though warmly appreciative of this gesture, Chad professed himself “unsettled” by the offer. Ryan, on the other hand, would not be gainsaid and the operation – this involved the removal of two thirds of the donor organ – duly took place. Everything appeared to be going well until, five days after surgery, Ryan died of a heart attack, leaving a widow, three small sons and an outpouring of familial grief.


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