A transplant surgeon discusses the pioneers, science, and ethical challenges of organ transplantation as well as the ways that organ transplants have revolutionized medical care, offering the stories of his own patients.
Although the formal organization of When Death Becomes Life begins with the history of transplantation and then shifts to stories of individual patient experiences, the effect is that readers are first introduced to the endeavor’s scientific hurdles and then to its ethical quandaries ... In narrating the history, Mezrich renders a century of technical innovations as gripping as any gumshoe potboiler by Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett ... To his credit, Mezrich approaches these pioneers [of transplantation] with reverence, but also with a dispassionate eye. He is quick to call out conduct that strikes him as unseemly or even unethical ... Into these patient narratives, Mezrich masterfully weaves many of the most unsettling ethical questions surrounding modern transplantation ... The volume is also striking for its resounding eloquence, all the more remarkable for a physician writing a first book.
Mezrich, who tells jokes and plays Tupac in the operating room, walks readers through procedures step by gory step ... Readers will quickly become acquainted with medical terms...but the technical language is balanced by thrilling accounts of medical discoveries and the author's own surgeries. In writing about his life-saving career, Mezrich is both casual...and reverent ... He recognizes the great responsibility surgeons have and takes care to show the humanity in each patient, both organ donor and recipient.
Dr. Mezrich’s book braids unflinching medical history with frank clinical memoir ... Dr. Mezrich is at his best in explaining—sometimes with deep reservations—why different organs have different rules and ethical norms.