Cover image for Raising the dead : organ transplants, ethics, and society
Raising the dead : organ transplants, ethics, and society
Munson, Ronald, 1939-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
288 pages ; 25 cm
A modern Lazarus: Robby Benson's heart -- Mickey Mantle's liver, part 1: the case -- Mickey Mantle's liver, part 2: the issues -- The others may live: the dead-donor rule and anencephalic infants -- Kidney for sale: is it ever right to sell your kidney? -- Donors of last resort: protecting vulnerable people -- Kurosawa in California: the baby Fae case and unproven treatments -- But are they really dead?: Is no heartbeat enough for death? -- Xenotransplantation, part 1: chasing the dream -- Xenotransplantation, part 2: fearing the worst, hoping for the best -- Grow your own organs: stem-cell engineering and generative medicine.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library RD120.7 .M86 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Audubon Library RD120.7 .M86 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Perhaps no medical breakthrough in the twentieth century is more spectacular, more hope-giving, or more fraught with ethical questions than organ transplantation. Each year some 25,000 Americans are pulled back from the brink of death by receiving vital new organs. Another 5,000 die whilewaiting for them. And what distinguishes these two groups has become the source of one of our thorniest ethical questions. In Raising the Dead, Ronald Munson offers a vivid, often wrenchingly dramatic account of how transplants are performed, how we decide who receives them, and how we engage the entire range of tough issues that arise because of them. Each chapter begins with a detailed account of a specificcase--Mickey Mantle's controversial liver transplant, for example--followed by careful analysis of its surrounding ethical questions (the charges that Mantle received special treatment because he was a celebrity, the larger problems involving how organs are allocated, and whether alcoholics shouldhave an equal claim on donor livers). In approaching transplant ethics through specific cases, Munson reminds us of the complex personal and emotional dimension that underlies such issues. The book also ranges beyond our present capabilities to explore the future possibilities in xenotransplantation(transplanting animal organs into humans) and stem cell technology that would allow doctors to grow new organs from the patient's own cells. Based on extensive scientific research, but written with a novelist's eye for the human condition, Raising the Dead shows readers the reality of organ transplantation now, the possibility of what it may become, and how we might respond to the ethical challenges it forces us to confront.

Author Notes

Ronald Munson is Professor of Philosophy of Science and Medicine, University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Although it has little to do with genuinely raising the dead, Munson's book should rouse productive discussion of some controversial aspects of transplant medicine. Broadly experienced in academic, governmental, and commercial medical ethics programs, Munson uses case histories to set ethical questions in practical contexts, and he doesn't refrain from taking a stand. Early on he takes up the liver transplant for alcoholic Yankee great Mickey Mantle, which stirred a storm of criticism; he examines the major charges that Mantle got special treatment and shows that none were legitimate. That is typical of Munson's evenhanded approach. He makes a compelling case for taking organs from anencephalic infants, and he cogently argues that organs can, under some circumstances, be ethically purchased. He devotes two chapters to xenotransplants (from animal to human), discusses their ethical and scientific pros and cons, and suggests practical policies for their control. He expatiates at some length about how death is determined, and most controversially, perhaps, argues the value of stem-cell research. Lucid and compelling writing on a much-debated topic. --William Beatty

Library Journal Review

Novelist and professor Munson (philosophy of science and medicine, Univ. of Missouri, St. Louis) here provides a wonderful introduction to a variety of ethical issues surrounding organ transplantation. With a minimum of technical terminology, he discusses the definition of death, methods for obtaining organs, recipient selection, xenotransplantation, and stem cell research. Using case studies, both real and fictitious, he also offers a current look at these difficult issues. The chapters on xenotransplants and stem cell research are particularly interesting for their jargon-free description of those processes and their potential. Although Munson is not hesitant to include opinions and recommendations, it is always clear when the opinions expressed are his own. Arthur Caplan's The Ethics of Organ Transplants (LJ 3/15/99) discusses many of the same issues, but it is slightly dated and somewhat more philosophical. Munson's extremely readable and affordable contribution is highly recommended for public library and undergraduate collections. Tina Neville, Univ. of South Florida Lib., St. Petersburg (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Hardly a week passes without media attention to an issue surrounding organ transplants. Munson, a renowned health care philosopher (Univ. of Missouri-St. Louis), integrates his background as medical ethicist, novelist, and academic writer to present the state of the art and science of organ transplants at the beginning of the 21st century. Using a conversational, storytelling style, he begins each topical discussion with an illustrative case. Many of the stories are headlines from the recent past, e.g., Mickey Mantle's liver and Baby Fae; other cases are compilations from real-life situations. Munson ends with fictional accounts of the future of xenotransplantation and stem cell engineering. In toto, he addresses the major ethical dilemmas surrounding transplantation. After presenting each case, he clearly and succinctly analyzes ethical issues embedded in the situation and presents his own conclusions and recommendations. He states that the "reader doesn't have to agree with him to enjoy the book." He writes in a style accessible to all levels of readers. Comprehensive reference lists rather than footnotes within the text beckon to academic readers. Anyone grappling with organ transplant issues--from layperson to academic ethicist--will find something appropriate to their level of interest. Highly recommended. M. A. Thompson Bellarmine University

Table of Contents

1. A Modern Lazarus: Robby Benson's Heartp. 1
2. Mickey Mantle's Liver, Part 1: The Casep. 26
3. Mickey Mantle's Liver, Part 2: The Issuesp. 46
4. That Others May Live: The Dead-Donor Rule and Anencephalic Infantsp. 67
5. Kidney For Sale: Is it Ever Right to Sell Your Kidney?p. 98
6. Donors of Last Resort: Protecting Vulnerable Peoplep. 125
7. Kurosawa in California: The Baby Fae Case and Unproven Treatmentsp. 145
8. But Are They Really Dead?: Is No Heartbeat Enough for Death?p. 172
9. Xenotransplantation, Part 1: Chasing the Dreamp. 192
10. Xenotransplantation, Part 2: Fearing the Worst, Hoping for the Bestp. 220
11. Grow Your Own Organs: Stem-Cell Engineering and Regenerative Medicinep. 238
Acknowledgmentsp. 265
Notes and Referencesp. 267
Indexp. 281

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