David Hamilton is a retired surgeon and honorary senior lecturer at the Medical School of St. Andrews University, where he teaches medical history. He is the author of two previous books, The Monkey Gland Affair and The Healers: A History of Medicine in Scotland.
A History of Organ Transplantation is a comprehensive and ambitious exploration of transplant surgery—which, surprisingly, is one of the longest continuous medical endeavors in history. Moreover, no other medical enterprise has had so many multiple interactions with other fields, including biology, ethics, law, government, and technology. Exploring the medical, scientific, and surgical events that led to modern transplant techniques, Hamilton argues that progress in successful transplantation required a unique combination of multiple methods, bold surgical empiricism, and major immunological insights in order for surgeons to develop an understanding of the body’s most complex and mysterious mechanisms. Surgical progress was nonlinear, sometimes reverting and sometimes significantly advancing through luck, serendipity, or helpful accidents of nature.
The first book of its kind, A History of Organ Transplantation examines the evolution of surgical tissue replacement from classical times to the medieval period to the present day. This well-executed volume will be useful to undergraduates, graduate students, scholars, surgeons, and the general public. Both Western and non-Western experiences as well as folk practices are included.