While the traffic in human organs stirs outrage and
condemnation, donations of such material are perceived as highly
ethical. In reality, the line between illicit trafficking and
admirable donation is not so sharply drawn. Those entangled in the
legal, social, and commercial dimensions of transplanting organs
must reconcile motives, bureaucracy, and medical desperation.
Matching Organs with Donors: Legality and Kinship in
Transplants examines the tensions between law and practice in
the world of organ transplants-and the inventive routes patients
may take around the law while going through legal processes.
In this sensitive ethnography, Marie-Andrée Jacob reveals the
methods and mindsets of doctors, administrators, gray-sector
workers, patients, donors, and sellers in Israel's living kidney
transplant bureaus. Matching Organs with Donors describes
how suitable matches are identified between donor and recipient
using terms borrowed from definitions of kinship. Jacob presents a
subtle portrait of the shifting relationships between organ
donors/sellers, patients, their brokers, and hospital officials who
often accept questionably obtained organs.
Jacob's incisive look at the cultural landscapes of transplantation
in Israel has wider implications. Matching Organs with
Donors deepens our understanding of the law and management of
informed consent, decision-making among hospital professionals, and
the shadowy borders between altruism and commerce.
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