Twice Dead Organ Transplants and the Reinvention of Death

ISBN-10: 0520228146
ISBN-13: 9780520228146
Edition: 2002
Authors: Margaret Lock
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Description: Tales about organ transplants appear in mythology and folk stories, and surface in documents from medieval times, but only during the past twenty years has medical knowledge and technology been sufficiently advanced for surgeons to perform thousands  More...

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Book details

List price: $33.95
Copyright year: 2002
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 12/1/2001
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 442
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.738
Language: English

Tales about organ transplants appear in mythology and folk stories, and surface in documents from medieval times, but only during the past twenty years has medical knowledge and technology been sufficiently advanced for surgeons to perform thousands of transplants each year. In the majority of cases individuals diagnosed as "brain dead" are the source of the organs without which transplants could not take place. In this compelling and provocative examination, Margaret Lock traces the discourse over the past thirty years that contributed to the locating of a new criterion of death in the brain, and its routinization in clinical practice in North America. She compares this situation with that in Japan where, despite the availability of the necessary technology and expertise, brain death was legally recognized only in 1997, and then under limited and contested circumstances.Twice Deadexplores the cultural, historical, political, and clinical reasons for the ready acceptance of the new criterion of death in North America and its rejection, until recently, in Japan, with the result that organ transplantation has been severely restricted in that country. This incisive and timely discussion demonstrates that death is not self-evident, that the space between life and death is historically and culturally constructed, fluid, multiple, and open to dispute. In addition to an analysis of that professional literature on and popular representations of the subject, Lock draws on extensive interviews conducted over ten years with physicians working in intensive care units, transplant surgeons, organ recipients, donor families, members of the general public in both Japan and North America, and political activists in Japan opposed to the recognition of brain death. By showing that death can never be understood merely as a biological event, and that cultural, medical, legal, and political dimensions are inevitably implicated in the invention of brain death,Twice Deadconfronts one of the most troubling questions of our era.

Margaret Lock is the Marjorie Bronfman Professor Emerita in the Department of Social Studies of Medicine and the Department of Anthropology at McGill University. Lock’s many books include Encounters with Aging, Twice Dead, and An Anthropology of Biomedicine.

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Preamble: Accidental Death
Trauma
The Procurement
The Gift
Death's Shadow
Boundary Transgressions and Moral Uncertainty
Reanimation
Technology in Extremis
Narrow Escapes
Locating the Moment of Death
Jumping the Gun
Making the New Death Uniform
Tragedy
Japan and the Brain-Death "Problem"
Aggressive Harvesting
Technology as Other: Japanese Modernity and Technology
Born of a Brain-Dead Mother
Prevailing against Inertia: An Interim Resolution to the Brain-Death Debate
Becoming a Good Angel
Social Death and Situated Departures
Disconcerting Movements
Imagined Continuities: On Becoming an Ancestor
Memory Work
When Bodies Outlive Persons
Procurement Anxiety
When Persons Linger in Bodies
Transcendence through Music
The Body Transcendent
A Court Order
The Social Life of Human Organs
A Reliable Man
An Unsatisfactory Intelligence
Revisiting Vivisection in a World Short of Organs
A Dubious Definition of Death
Reflections
Bibliography
Index

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