The progress of medical science in the past 30 years has been so rapid that yesterday's miracles are tomorrow's commonplace procedures. So it has proved with heart transplants, which have become almost routine in hospitals around the world. Yet every once in a while a story emerges which should cause us all to sit up and take note that there is nothing "routine" or "commonplace" about such complex operations. The suggestion, highlighted again this week, that donor patients could not only be acquiring the organs but also the memories - or even the soul - of the donor is surely one such story. This bizarre possibility was raised by the inexplicable case of Sonny Graham - a seemingly happily married 69-year-old man living in the U.S. state of Georgia. He shot himself without warning, having shown no previous signs of unhappiness, let alone depression. His friends described it as an act of passion, not of reason. The case might have remained just an isolated tragedy were it not for the fact that Sonny had received a transplanted heart from a man who had also shot himself - in identical circumstances. To make things even more intriguing, shortly after receiving the heart transplant, Sonny tracked down the wife of the donor - and fell instantly in love with her. "When I first met her," Sonny told a local newspaper, "I just stared. I felt like I had known her for years. I couldn't keep my eyes off her." He spoke of a deep and profound love for her. It was instant and it was passionate. The kind of love where overwhelming passion seizes control of the mind and banishes reason. They quickly wed. The tragedy of Sonny Graham will, no doubt, be written off as mere coincidence. After all, there is surely no conceivable way that the memories, let alone the character of a donor, can be transplanted along with their heart. Virtually every doctor and scientist will tell you the heart is a mere pump. The seat of our mind, our consciousness, our very soul - if such a thing exists - lies in the brain.
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