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June 16, 1993

Spare Parts: Organ Replacement in American Society

JAMA. 1993;269(23):3040-3041. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500230122041

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In Spare Parts, Renee Fox and Judith Swazey have updated us on their continued and lifelong study of the ethical, moral, social, and cultural processes of therapeutic innovation. As with their initial The Courage to Fail, they have remained with organ transplantation as their basic scientific model and have approached the subject from a sharply different angle than did William A. Nolen, MD, in his Spare Parts for the Human Body (Random House, 1971). In the nearly 20 years between publication of the two works by Fox and Swazey, their idealism has matured, as has their field of chosen study. Their "research physicians" have adapted to market forces as the field of transplantation exploded from the experimental kidney transplant (as discussed by Nolen) to broad acceptance of transplantation of the heart, liver, heart and lung, and more experimental segmented organ transplants, in efforts to save or prolong life.

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