In Kidney to Share, Martha Gershun tells the story of her decision to donate a kidney to a stranger. She takes readers through the complex process by which such donors are vetted to ensure that they are physically and psychologically fit to take the risk of a major operation. John D. Lantos, a physician and bioethicist, places Gershun's story in the larger context of the history of kidney transplantation and the ethical controversies that surround living donors. Together, they help readers understand the discoveries that made transplantation relatively safe and effective as well as the legal, ethical, and economic policies that make it feasible.
Gershun and Lantos explore the steps involved in recovering and allocating organs. They analyze the differences that arise depending on whether the organ comes from a living donor or one who has died. They observe the expertise--and the shortcomings--of doctors, nurses, and other professionals and describe the burdens that we place on people who are willing to donate. In this raw and vivid book, Gershun and Lantos ask us to consider just how far society should go in using one person's healthy body parts in order to save another person.
Kidney to Share provides an account of organ donation that is both personal and analytical. The combination of perspectives leads to a profound and compelling exploration of a largely opaque practice. Gershun and Lantos pull back the curtain to offer readers a more transparent view of the fascinating world of organ donation.
“Reading this lively book is like eavesdropping on an honest exchange between erudite friends. The insight of the authors into how our collective ambivalence about living organ donors is enacted in the medical maze they must navigate is revelatory.”—Katie Watson, author of Scarlet A
“Kidney to Share is a remarkably fascinating work—a mix of personal narrative and medi- cal history that brilliantly teases out the most scientific and ethical complexities of modern medicine. This book, with its overlapping voices and contributions to a medically suspenseful organ transplant story, is at once intimate, educational, clear-eyed, heartfelt, and profoundly moving.”—Perri Klass, author of A Good Time to Be Born
About the Speakers
Martha Gershun is the former Executive Director of Jackson County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). She is author of Care & Custody, and her work has appeared in The Kansas City Star, The New York Times Magazine, Kveller, and The Radcliffe Quarterly. Follow her on Twitter @mgershun.
John D. Lantos, MD, is Director of the Bioethics Center at Children's Mercy Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine. His books include Do We Still Need Doctors, Neonatal Bioethics, and Controversial Bodies. He is Associate Editor of American Journal of Bioethics, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, and Current Problems in Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Care. Follow him on Twitter @johnlantos.
Jeffrey P. Bishop is a social and moral philosopher and physician, who teaches medical ethics and philosophy. Professor Bishop holds the Tenet Endowed Chair in Health Care Ethics at Saint Louis University and is the Director of the Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics. His scholarly work is focused on the historical, political, and philosophical conditions that underpin contemporary medical and scientific practices and theories. Professor Bishop's interests are diverse, with publications in medical journals, philosophical journals, theological journals, and medical humanities journals. He has written on many topics, including transhumanism and enhancement technologies, clinical ethics consultation, and medical humanities. His first book, The Anticipatory Corpse: Medicine, Power, and the Care of the Dying, is a philosophical history of care for the dying, covering issues from ICU care to palliative care. He is working on a second book with co-investigators M. Therese Lysaught and Andrew Michel tentatively titled, Chasing After Virtue: Neuroscience, Economics, and the Biopolitics of Morality. Lately, his scholarship has been focused on the body, exploring how medical and scientific conceptions of the body shape the kinds of moral claims made by medicine, science, and bioethics. A passionate teacher, Professor Bishop teaches regularly in the PhD program in health care ethics. He has also taught undergraduate courses in medical ethics, philosophy of medicine, and the body in medical culture. He often serves as the primary supervisor of doctoral dissertations and frequently serves as second or third reader on dissertation committees. Professor Bishop enjoys mentoring students, and assisting students in developing their own scholarly voices. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy and Christian Bioethics, and he is an assistant editor of the Philosophy and Medicine series, published by Springer.
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