From the Back Cover
A gifted surgeon illuminates one of the most awe-inspiring achievements of modern-day medicine: the movement of organs between bodies. At the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Dr. Joshua Mezrich creates life from loss, transplanting organs from one body to another. In this intimate and profoundly moving work, he sheds light not only on the extraordinary field of transplantation that enables this kind of miracle to happen every day, but also on the incredible doctors, donors, and patients who are at the center of this near-unimaginable world. 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, conveying what the life of a surgeon is really like and how it feels to experience soaring victories as well as crushing defeats. He 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. We hear the stories of the donors and the recipients, learn of the ethical issues involved, and celebrate the unbelievable strength of the human spirit. 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 this illuminating work, Mezrich touches upon the essence of existence and what it means to be alive. Most physicians fight against death, but in transplantation, doctors take from death. Here the dead give their last remnant of life to the living--and Mezrich shares his gratitude and awe for the privilege of being a part of this transformative exchange. After all, the donors are his patients, too. Part history, part memoir, all completely riveting, When Death Becomes Life offers the human story behind the most exceptional medical advancements of our time and stands as a beautiful, poignant reminder that a life lost can also offer the hope of a new beginning.