When Death Becomes Life

When Death Becomes Life

Notes From A Transplant Surgeon

eBook - 2019
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HARPERCOLL

"With When Death Becomes Life, Joshua Mezrich has performed the perfect core biopsy of transplantation—a clear and compelling account of the grueling daily work, the spell-binding history and the unsettling ethical issues that haunt this miraculous lifesaving treatment. Mezrich's compassionate and honest voice, punctuated by a sharp and intelligent wit, render the enormous subject not just palatable but downright engrossing."—Pauline Chen, author of Final Exam: A Surgeon’s Reflections on Mortality

A gifted surgeon illuminates one of the most profound, awe-inspiring, and deeply affecting achievements of modern day medicine—the movement of organs between bodies—in this exceptional work of death and life that takes its place besides Atul Gawande’s Complications, Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies, and Jerome Groopman’s How Doctors Think.

At the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Joshua Mezrich creates life from loss, transplanting organs from one body to another. In this intimate, profoundly moving work, he illuminates the extraordinary field of transplantation that enables this kind of miracle to happen every day.

When Death Becomes Life is a thrilling look at how science advances on a grand scale to improve human lives. Mezrich examines more than one hundred years of remarkable medical breakthroughs, connecting this fascinating history with the inspiring and heartbreaking stories of his transplant patients. Combining gentle sensitivity with scientific clarity, Mezrich reflects on his calling as a doctor and introduces the modern pioneers who made transplantation a reality—maverick surgeons whose feats of imagination, bold vision, and daring risk taking generated techniques and practices that save millions of lives around the world.

Mezrich takes us inside the operating room and unlocks the wondrous process of transplant surgery, a delicate, intense ballet requiring precise timing, breathtaking skill, and at times, creative improvisation. In illuminating this work, Mezrich touches the essence of existence and what it means to be alive. Most physicians fight death, but in transplantation, doctors take from death. Mezrich shares his gratitude and awe for the privilege of being part of this transformative exchange as the dead give their last breath of life to the living. After all, the donors are his patients, too.

When Death Becomes Life also engages in fascinating ethical and philosophical debates: How much risk should a healthy person be allowed to take to save someone she loves? Should a patient suffering from alcoholism receive a healthy liver? What defines death, and what role did organ transplantation play in that definition? The human story behind the most exceptional medicine of our time, Mezrich’s riveting book is a beautiful, poignant reminder that a life lost can also offer the hope of a new beginning.



Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, 2019
ISBN: 9780062656223
Branch Call Number: eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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htliang
Jul 05, 2019

This fascinating and enlightening book examines the history of transplantation and studies the ethics, failures, victories, technical aspects, and human courage that surround this relatively new treatment. Totally riveting and eye-opening. Animal experimentation is also discussed - sometimes in disturbing detail - but showcases the value in saving innumerable humans lives.

" As the plane bucked and the alarms sounded, I really did think this was it. I thought about my family, particularly my little girl, born two weeks before we moved to Madison for my fellowship. I was bothered by the idea that someone at my funeral would say I died doing what I really loved. That's bullshit. There is really no great way to die, certainly not in a stupid little plane in the middle of the night."

This quote from the book sums up the courage of those who risked their lives during the early transplants:
For a dying man, it is not a difficult decision (to accept a heart transplant) because he knows he is at the end. If a lion chases you to the bank of a river filled with crocodiles, you will leap into the water convinced you have a chance to swim to the other side. But you would never accept such odds if there was no lion. - Christiaan Barnard, One Life

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