Courage to Fail : A Social View of Organ Transplants and Dialysis
The title of this profound work conveys the bold, uncertain, and often dangerous adventure in which medical professionals and their organ transplant and dialysis patients are engaged. Built around a series of case studies developed through years of fi rst-hand ethnographic research, The Courage to Fail is the product of collaborative fi rst-hand research concerned with various social phenomena generated by transplantation and dialysis and also by the development and deployment of an artifi cial heart. The authors examine the individuals involved and the workings and atmosphere of some of the medical centers in which these forms of therapy have been developed. They examine "gift-exchange" dimensions of transplantation: the transcendent and tyrannical aspects of the "gift of life" that transplants entail for donors and recipients-and for medical professionals as well. They also analyze the dilemma of uncertainty inherent in medicine, which occurs with particular force in the development of such experimental techniques.