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The history, current state, and future of a medical miracle that has gone from ""dangerous experiment"" to ""almost routine"" technique. Possible transplants now include cornea, lens, bone and marrow, skin, blood vessel, kidney, liver, heart, and lung. Kittredge contrasts early attempts to overcome incompatibility (with such treatments as radiation often killing the patient) with today's sophisticated tissue analysis and current problems like waiting for donors, side effects of post-surgery medication, and survivor's guilt. A good chapter on the chronology of a heart transplant might have been even better if it had been personalized; one on ethics takes a limited look at future issues: selling spare parts, using encephalic babies. Photos show interesting cases--e.g., a woman who donated a kidney to a daughter she'd given up for adoption 20 years earlier. The subject in this volume of The Encyclopedia of Health is well-suited to the format, but the presentation could have been livelier with more questions addressed: As expenses increase, who will be chosen to receive transplants--the wealthy, or contributors to society? How many attempts per patient are appropriate in terms of the needs of the larger group? A nonspecific series introduction by C. Everett Koop on prevention/education adds little to the subject at hand. List of resources; bibliography; glossary; index.

Pub Date: Dec. 6th, 1988
Page count: 104pp
Publisher: Chelsea House