Tales about organ transplants appear in mythology and folk stories and surface in documents from medieval times, but only during the past 20 years has medical knowledge and technology been sufficiently advanced for surgeons to perform thousands of transplants each year.
In the majority of cases individuals diagnosed as "brain dead" are the source of the organs without which transplants could not take place.In this compelling and provocative examination, Margaret Lock traces the discourse over the past 30 years that contributed to the locating of a new criterion of death in the brain, and its routinization in clinical practice in North America.
She compares this situation with that in Japan where, despite the availability of the necessary technology and expertise, brain death was legally recognized only in 1997 and then under limited and contested circumstances. "Twice Dead" explores the cultural, historical, political and clinical reasons for the ready acceptance of the new criterion of death in North America and its rejection, until recently, in Japan, with the result that organ transplantation has been severely restricted in that country.
This incisive and timely discussion demo