Flesh and Blood: Organ Transplantation and Blood Transfusion in Twentieth-Century America

Flesh and Blood: Organ Transplantation and Blood Transfusion in Twentieth-Century America

by Susan E. Lederer
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Organ transplantation is one of the most dramatic interventions in modern medicine. Since the 1950s thousands of people have lived with 'new' hearts, kidneys, lungs, corneas, and other organs and tissues transplanted into their bodies. From the beginning, though, there was simply a problem: surgeons often encountered shortages of people willing and able to give

…  See more details below

Overview

Organ transplantation is one of the most dramatic interventions in modern medicine. Since the 1950s thousands of people have lived with 'new' hearts, kidneys, lungs, corneas, and other organs and tissues transplanted into their bodies. From the beginning, though, there was simply a problem: surgeons often encountered shortages of people willing and able to give their organs and tissues. To overcome this problem, they often brokered financial arrangements. Yet an ethic of gift exchange coexisted with the 'commodification of the body'. The same duality characterized the field of blood transfusion, which was essential to the development of modern surgery.
This book will be the first to bring together the histories of blood transfusion and organ transplantation. It will show how these two fields redrew the lines between self and non-self, the living and the dead, and humans and animals. Drawing on newspapers, magazines, legal cases, films and the papers and correspondence of physicians and surgeons, Lederer will challenge the assumptions of some bioethicists and policymakers that popular fears about organ transplantation necessarily reflect timeless human concerns and preoccupations with the body. She will show how notions of the body- intact, in parts, living and dead- are shaped by the particular culture in which they are embedded.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"While the concept of American exceptionalism may not be in vogue anymore, it appears to have made a comeback in Susan E. Lederer's intriguing new book about the ready acceptance of organ transplants and blood transfusion in the United States. She deftly guides us through the relevant history...As Lederer makes clear, medical miracles can no longer be separated from ethical constraints. For those who need to learn why, this book is a wonderful place to begin."—American Historical Review

"In her latest work, Flesh and Blood, medical historian Susan E. Lederer offers detailed accounts of the transfer of body parts and fluids, particularly in the United States. This is an astonishing accomplishment, given that Lederer packs an extraordinary amount of historical data into a volume that is scarcely over two hundred pages long. The work is simultaneously informative and lucid."—Bulletin of the History of Medicine

"I would recommend Lederer's book to those interested in the history of medicine in general, and especially to those interested in the history of transfusion and transplantation in the United States and worldwide."—As reviewed by Hans Erik Heier, MD, PhD, MHA in the New England Journal of Medicine

"...intriguing...As Lederer makes clear, medical miracles can no longer be separated from ethicical constraints. For those who need to learn why, this book is a wonderful place to begin."—American Historical Review

"Flesh and Blood, through its historical examination of blood transfusion and transplantation illuminates the deeper meaning of medical practices that we take for granted daily—questions of meaning of self, identity, and bodily integrity that pervade our technological procedures....Flesh and Blood abounds in implications for today as we blithely set about to 'remake bodies through the harvest of other bodies—animal and human, living and dead.'"—Ethics and Medicine

"Flesh and Blood is a well-written history filled with interesting details that will be a valuableresource for historians in this area for a long time." —Journal of the History of Medicine

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Nicole Mitchell, MA, MLIS (University of Alabama at Birmingham)
Description: A concise history of organ transplantation and blood transfusion, this book begins with what author Susan E. Lederer calls the "pre-history" of organ transplantation in the nineteenth century. Much of the book is devoted to how the American people reacted to these new procedures, including mixing blood from different races and species as well as religious, cultural, and societal implications.
Purpose: This book provides a fresh look at the development of organ transplantation and blood transfusion in America. Looking at the first, "failed" attempts at transplantation in the late nineteenth century, the author aims to show how people responded to these advances in modern medicine. Rather than focusing solely on how the procedures are performed, she discusses the consequences of the procedures. A major focus of the book, based on films, court cases, newspapers, and other materials, is how "popular fears about organ transplantation [do not] necessarily reflect" the way people have always felt.
Audience: The author, chair of the Department of Medical History and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, has produced a work accessible to a variety of readers, including students.
Features: Divided into eight chapters, the book covers transplantation and transfusion in the early twentieth century, differences in blood "groups," medical miscegenation of races, and the religious implications of the procedures. Among the book's strengths are the author's references to historical events, drawing on newspapers and magazines from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In addition to the index, each chapter also has numerous endnotes.
Assessment: Very well researched and written, this is a welcome addition to the literature on organ transplantation and blood transfusion in American society. It is recommended for all libraries, especially those with a history of medicine collection.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195161502
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
04/24/2008
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Susan E. Lederer is the Robert Turell Professor of the History of Medicine and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, where she is the chair of the Department of Medical History and Bioethics. A historian of American medicine, she has written extensively on the history of animal and human experimentation. Her books include Subjected to Science: Human Experimentation in America Before the Second World War (1995), and Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature (Rutgers UP, 2002), and she was a contributor to The Human Radiation Experiments: Final Report of the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments (Oxford University Press, 1996).

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >