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
Item Holds
RD120.7 .M86 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
RD120.7 .M86 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Ronald Munson plunges us into the tense and tangled world of organ transplantation. Using vivid, often gut-wrenching cases as points of departure, Munson shows us how transplants are performed, decisions are made, and ethical and social issues arise. Fast-paced and readable, the science and medicine lucidly explained, this book forces us to confront the human and moral dimensions of using donor organs to save lives.

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