A Death Retold: Jesica Santillan, the Bungled Transplant, and Paradoxes of Medical Citizenship / Edition 1

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In February 2003, an undocumented immigrant teen from Mexico lay dying in a prominent American hospital due to a stunning medical oversight--she had received a heart-lung transplantation of the wrong blood type. In the following weeks, Jesica Santillan's tragedy became a portal into the complexities of American medicine, prompting contentious debate about new patterns and old problems in immigration, the hidden epidemic of medical error, the lines separating transplant "haves" from "have-nots," the right to sue, and the challenges posed by "foreigners" crossing borders for medical care. This volume draws together experts in history, sociology, medical ethics, communication and immigration studies, transplant surgery, anthropology, and health law to understand the dramatic events, the major players, and the core issues at stake.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Well worth reading. . . . Recommended."--CHOICE

"Provides inspiration and insight . . . for those grappling with the paradoxes of organ transplants in other settings."--Medical History

"This valued text belongs on the reference shelves in the libraries of our colleges of medicine and nursing, as this text could serve as the primary reference for an entire semester ethics course."--Journal of the National Medical Association

"This cautionary tale is well worth reading. Recommended."--CHOICE

"Experts in history, sociology, medical ethics, communication, immigrations studies, transplant surgery, anthropology, and health law . . . provide a broad overview of some of the most interesting issues facing organ transplantation today. . . . A very worthwhile read."--American Journal of Transplantation

From The Critics
Reviewer: Gene Edward Ridolfi, RN, BA (Washington University School of Medicine)
Description: This book discusses the events surrounding the bungled heart-lung transplant for a 17-year-old girl who initially received organs of the wrong blood type at Duke University Medical Center in 2003. It approaches the event from the perspective of the exporting Organ Procurement Organization's (OPO) process, the importing OPO, and the staff and surgeons at the accepting transplant center. The book also discusses the decisions surrounding the second transplant the patient underwent two weeks later. The patient died after the second operation.
Purpose: The purpose is to understand the sequence of events surrounding the bungled transplant and the retransplant. It also raises questions about organ allocation, retransplant criteria, and, because the girl was smuggled illegally into the U.S. to get treatment, illegal aliens. These are all worthy objectives. The book raises many questions about organ availability and allocation and recipient selection.
Audience: It is intended primarily for clinical staff associated with the allocation of organs and transplant centers as well as screeners for recipient candidacy and acceptors of organs. The book also would be of interest to students, practitioners, and clinicians with a focus on ethics.
Features: This book covers all of the issues concerning the transplant, from the allocation and recipient process to the ethical issues surrounding the questions of the patient's citizenship and retransplantation. It also highlights the impact of the U.S. press, a most interesting discussion. One shortcoming of the book is in the explanation of organ allocation, specifically match runs, open ended offer, etc.
Assessment: This is a very interesting read. It made me think about the many other issues that surround and impact the theater of organ donation and transplantation.
From the Publisher
"Well worth reading. . . . Recommended."

"Provide[s] a broad overview of some of the most important issues facing organ transplantation today. The book should serve as an important resource book for trainees and more experienced transplant professionals seeking such an overview."
American Journal of Transplantation

"This valued text belongs on the reference shelves in the libraries of our colleges of medicine and nursing, as this text could serve as the primary reference for an entire semester ethics course."
Journal of the National Medical Association

"This cautionary tale is well worth reading. Recommended."

"Provides inspiration and insight . . . for those grappling with the paradoxes of organ transplants in other settings."
Medical History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807857731
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 11/6/2006
  • Series: Studies in Social Medicine
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 1,246,817
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Keith Wailoo is Martin Luther King Professor of History and author of the award-winning Dying in the City of the Blues: Sickle Cell Anemia and the Politics of Race and Health (from the University of North Carolina Press).

Julie Livingston is assistant professor of history and author of Debility and the Moral Imagination in Botswana.


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