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Defying the Gods: Inside the New Frontier of Organ Transplant Hardcover – June 22, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

To compassionate and involving effect that will give pause even to critics of organ transplantation, McCartney, a Wall Street Journal writer based in Dallas, here reports on the four months he spent dogging the liver-transplant team and patients at his city's Baylor University Medical Center. Although he argues for the rationality of transplantation and emphasizes the heroics of all involved, McCartney's study should not be dismissed as merely advocacy journalism. On the trail of his story, this tough-minded reporter probes and damns the organ allocation systems nationwide; questions the costs--on average, $200,000--at Baylor and elsewhere, stressing that transplantations are major money-makers for hospitals; compares the survival rates--Baylor's one-year ratio of 87% is the nation's highest--and the unrefined recipient selection process at various medical centers. McCartney follows the convalescences of those who received liver transplants at Baylor during his study: patients do not feel fit for nine months; the immunosuppressant drugs they take can so damage their kidneys that kidney transplants become necessary. Yet those facing transplantations, at least at Baylor, will be reassured by the book, and healthy readers will be left grateful that they themselves need not suffer the experience.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Given wide access to the liver transplant program at the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Wall Street Journal reporter McCartney has produced a book heavy on insider talk and breathless, high-octane accounts of complex-and expensive-transplant surgery. Spiced with gossipy anecdotes of the program and the polo-playing Swedish surgeon in charge of it, McCartney's account tries to bring into focus the many conflicting issues facing this ever-changing and controversial field. McCartney is on the one hand smitten with the drama and excitement of life-saving surgery while on the other clearly aware of the compromises and costs such complex attempts at life extension entail; unusual for books of this kind is an account of the generally secret meetings where precious organs are allocated. More accessible than The Puzzle People (LJ 8/92) by liver transplant guru Thomas Starzl, this work is best for collections in medicine, medical ethics, and sociology and general collections with patrons interested in the subject.
Mark L. Shelton, Athens, Ohio
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (June 22, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0025828207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0025828209
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,060,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Book Worm on August 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The professional editorial reviews did a good job summarizing the information to be found. The book itself is a great "read." It gives very human views of the challenges facing doctors and recipients. It also gives organ donors a true chance to reflect on the value and ethics of their decision to be donors.
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