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About the Book

Beyond the Book

392 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 7 illus., notes, index

A Death Retold

Jesica Santillan, the Bungled Transplant, and Paradoxes of Medical Citizenship

In February 2003, an undocumented immigrant teen from Mexico lay dying in a prominent American hospital due to a stunning medical oversight--she had received a heart-lung transplantation of the wrong blood type. In the following weeks, Jesica Santillan's tragedy became a portal into the complexities of American medicine, prompting contentious debate about new patterns and old problems in immigration, the hidden epidemic of medical error, the lines separating transplant "haves" from "have-nots," the right to sue, and the challenges posed by "foreigners" crossing borders for medical care.

This volume draws together experts in history, sociology, medical ethics, communication and immigration studies, transplant surgery, anthropology, and health law to understand the dramatic events, the major players, and the core issues at stake. Contributors view the Santillan story as a morality tale: about the conflicting values underpinning American health care; about the politics of transplant medicine; about how a nation debates deservedness, justice, and second chances; and about the global dilemmas of medical tourism and citizenship.


Charles Bosk, University of Pennsylvania

Leo R. Chavez, University of California, Irvine

Richard Cook, University of Chicago

Thomas Diflo, New York University Medical Center

Jason Eberl, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Jed Adam Gross, Yale University

Jacklyn Habib, American Association of Retired Persons

Tyler R. Harrison, Purdue University

Beatrix Hoffman, Northern Illinois University

Nancy M. P. King, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Barron Lerner, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Susan E. Lederer, Yale University

Julie Livingston, Rutgers University

Eric M. Meslin, Indiana University School of Medicine and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Susan E. Morgan, Purdue University

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, University of California, Berkeley

Rosamond Rhodes, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Carolyn Rouse, Princeton University

Karen Salmon, New England School of Law

Lesley Sharp, Barnard and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Lisa Volk Chewning, Rutgers University

Keith Wailoo, Rutgers University

About the Author

Keith Wailoo is Martin Luther King Professor of History and author of the award-winning Dying in the City of the Blues: Sickle Cell Anemia and the Politics of Race and Health (from the University of North Carolina Press). Julie Livingston is assistant professor of history and author of Debility and the Moral Imagination in Botswana. Peter Guarnaccia is a medical anthropologist in the Department of Human Ecology and has published numerous articles on cross-cultural issues in mental health. All three editors teach at Rutgers University, where they are affiliated with the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research.

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