When Death Becomes Life: Notes from a Transplant Surgeon by Joshua D. Mezrich – Publication date of January 15th, 2019 by Harper – Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Medical
A gifted surgeon illuminates one of the most profound, awe-inspiring, and deeply affecting achievements of modern day medicine—the movement of organs between bodies—in this exceptional work of death and life that takes its place besides Atul Gawande’s Complications, Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies, and Jerome Groopman’s How Doctors Think.
At the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Joshua Mezrich creates life from loss, transplanting organs from one body to another. In this intimate, profoundly moving work, he illuminates the extraordinary field of transplantation that enables this kind of miracle to happen every day.
When Death Becomes Life is a thrilling look at how science advances on a grand scale to improve human lives. Mezrich examines more than one hundred years of remarkable medical breakthroughs, connecting this fascinating history with the inspiring and heartbreaking stories of his transplant patients. Combining gentle sensitivity with scientific clarity, Mezrich reflects on his calling as a doctor and introduces the modern pioneers who made transplantation a reality—maverick surgeons whose feats of imagination, bold vision, and daring risk-taking generated techniques and practices that save millions of lives around the world.
Mezrich takes us inside the operating room and unlocks the wondrous process of transplant surgery, a delicate, intense ballet requiring precise timing, breathtaking skill, and at times, creative improvisation. In illuminating this work, Mezrich touches the essence of existence and what it means to be alive. Most physicians fight death, but in transplantation, doctors take from death. Mezrich shares his gratitude and awe for the privilege of being part of this transformative exchange as the dead give their last breath of life to the living. After all, the donors are his patients, too.
When Death Becomes Life also engages in fascinating ethical and philosophical debates: How much risk should a healthy person be allowed to take to save someone she loves? Should a patient suffering from alcoholism receive a healthy liver? What defines death, and what role did organ transplantation play in that definition? The human story behind the most exceptional medicine of our time, Mezrich’s riveting book is a beautiful, poignant reminder that a life lost can also offer the hope of a new beginning.
About the author: A graduate of Cornell Medical School, Joshua Mezrich, MD, is an associate professor of surgery in the division of multi-organ transplantation at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
My Review: When Death Becomes Life: Notes from a Transplant Surgeon is an emotional rollercoaster of a read written by Joshua D. Mezrich. A book that with each page you read you will feel the joy and relief for the transplants that worked, sadness for the ones that didn’t, and loss for the donors who have met their untimely deaths. When Death Becomes Life is a book full of the history of medicine and a memoir of Joshua D. Mezrich. The author shares personal stories and adventures that he has experienced along the way. Written with a touch of humor to help lighten the mood and help to share the seriousness of the story being told. While this book may not be for everyone, I recommend it to anyone who is interested in science, and medicine. ** I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.**