Books about transplant: What are your book recommendations?

Posted by jasgto @jasgto, Sep 24, 2018

I apologize if this topic has already been covered but in looking back on past discussions I have not been able to find any recommended transplant books for reading. I am a voracious reader and among other things enjoy reading about the world of transplantation. Any suggestions from the members for good books involving transplants, especially heart transplants?

Some that I have read that I can highly recommend are:

"The Puzzle People: Memoirs of a Transplant Surgeon" by Dr. Thomas Starzl -- Dr. Starzl is often referred to as the father of transplantation. This book, aside from describing his life, outlines the history of modern organ transplantation. It covers the frustrations of early successful transplants only to be thwarted due to lack of immunosuppressants. Gives a great history on the development of the various immunosuppressants and just how new the whole field of transplantation is. Note: A recent film about his life called "Burden of Genius" has recently been released.

"The Gift of Life" by Traci Graf, RN -- This book describes the life of Transplant Coordinators who deal with the family of potential donors and covers a behind the scene description of what goes on in the donation of organs. Sometime her frustration is evident, but it is a good read on the mechanics of the organ donation process.

"The Gift that Heals" by Reg Green -- A very uplifting book of various stories of transplants from the view of donors, recipients, doctors, nurses, etc. The author's own young son was a donor under very tragic circumstances.

I would enjoy hearing other Members recommendations. Thanks!

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Transplants Support Group.

When Death Becoms Life: Notes from a Transplant Surgeon by Joshua Mezrich is excellent. Best one of those I have read


When Death becomes Life: Notes from a Transplant Surgeon by Mezrich; Hundreds of Interlaced Fingers by Grubbs; Spare Parts by Craddock.


I can suggest two books written by bone marrow/stem cell transplant patients - “When Steve Became Ralph” and “Between Two Kingdoms”. They are not highly clinical, more a story about their journeys with AML and their transplants.


Well, my go to book is always Into Thin Air. It is not a transplant book, nor if I am in a training mode (sales, consulting, management; etc) it is none of those books. What it ultimately is is a book on discipline. Absolute experts knew the rules for climbing Mt. Everest but for a variety of reasons they did not follow their own established discipline and as a result, people died. The lesson? You have received a transplant as part of climbing your personal Mt. Everest. You are not to the top yet and you now know a new set of rules. Do not violate them. There could be dire consequences.

Best always,
Scott Jensen


Saved by a Stranger - Life Changing Journeys of Transplant Patients by Lezlee Peterzell-Bellanich is a collection of stories of individual people's transplant journeys. Lezlee's husband Rob had his liver transplant at Mayo Jacksonville and Lezlee set out to write a book about the ways transplant has transformed peoples lives. When we first arrived in Jacksonville, scared and hoping they could save my husband's life, it was so uplifting to read these stories. It gave us tremendous hope while simultaneously setting realistic expectations for the journey ahead of us. Over time, we have met so many of the people profiled in the book, and now are happy to share our story of success to the list. #DonateLife #SavedByAStranger

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