Raising the Dead: Organ Transplants, Ethics, and Society

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9780195132991: Raising the Dead: Organ Transplants, Ethics, and Society

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 while waiting 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 specific case--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 should have 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.

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About the Author:


Ronald Munson is Professor of Philosophy of Science and Medicine, University of Missouri-St. Louis. He is the author of Intervention and Reflection, the most widely used medical ethics textbook in the US, and of three novels.

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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
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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2002. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 242 x 158 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. 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 while waiting 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 specific case-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 should have 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. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780195132991

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