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This was a truly haunting story - a man dies in a car crash and knows that he's done for. Then he wakes in a new body and it's explained that his brain was salvaged and then transplanted into a man who suffered brain damage. Everything's going great until his body-donor's wife shows up. Thanks for any help.

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If NKCampbell and/or Valorum want to take credit for this answer as they raised the idea first, they are welcome to the points. As no answer was listed, am putting this in for now.

I am going to suggest the original source as Immortality Inc by Robert Sheckley. While it was not a pure brain transplant per se, the general concept of a mind transfer is certainly the same. In particular that the story matches in all the other details specified in the linked synopsis and from what I remember reading.

Points that match:

  1. a man dies in a car crash and knows that he's done for.

Check. The story opens with Thomas Blaine driving down a New Jersey highway. He is returning to New York, where he works with a yacht-designing firm, after a week long vacation at his Chesapeake Bay cabin. Blaine suddenly loses control of his car and swerves into an on-coming vehicle.** The story reads, "…At that moment he knew he was dying. An instant later he knew that he was quickly, commonly, messily, painlessly dead."

  1. Then he wakes in a new body

    Check. Blaine wakes up in a hospital bed, as the next chapter begins.

  2. and it's explained that his brain was salvaged

    Check. He is in a room surrounded by medical personnel. They are commenting on his reactions to waking up, realizing he is still alive. Blaine also meets Marie Thorne. He views her as attractive but coldly professional. She too is interested in his responses. She tells him that his body has died but that they have saved his mind and given him a new body.

  3. Everything's going great until his body-donor's wife shows up.

    Check. He is on the street one day, when a woman seems to be staring at him. They speak; she recognizes the body as that of her husband's Frank Kranch.

  • can turn it into a community answer – NKCampbell Jul 21 '16 at 21:35
  • Thanks. I have not done that before. I will need to figure out how to convert it. – beichst Jul 21 '16 at 21:37
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    Okay. I edited it and changed to Community Wiki. Is that the correct procedure? – beichst Jul 21 '16 at 21:38
  • I think that's fair :) - sorry to keep you from almost hitting 10k :D – NKCampbell Jul 21 '16 at 21:40
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    NP. I think it is fair that you and other get points as you suggested it first anyhow. I will get to 10k when I get there. No rush. :-) – beichst Jul 21 '16 at 22:36

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