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'When Death Becomes Life'

Transplant surgeon’s book reflects on an evolving area of medicine.

Headshot of Dr. Joshua Mezrich and the cover of his book, "When Death Becomes Life."
Dr. Joshua Mezrich, left, and the cover of his book "When Death Becomes Life: Notes from a Transplant Surgeon" (Author photo: John Mancini, Book cover courtesy of Harper Collins)

Dr. Joshua Mezrich knows firsthand the joys and sorrows of transplanting organs.

Critics have praised the transplant surgeon’s new book, “When Death Becomes Life,” for the way Mezrich blended science and humanity as he looked back at his career and looked forward to where the field is heading.

“I hope to highlight the incredible gift transplantation is to all involved,” he wrote.

Mezrich, of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, also received national media attention, including an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air. Listen to Mezrich’s Fresh Air interview.

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The book opens with Mezrich, three months into his transplant medicine fellowship, ferrying organs aboard a small plane that got caught in a violent thunderstorm. The plane landed safely and the chapter ends with Mezrich transplanting a “perfect liver” into a patient who desperately needed it.

“Mezrich’s book sheds light on a critical area of medicine, one that’s ready for advancements, innovations and breakthroughs,” said Kevin Kovaleski, CSL Behring’s Senior Director and Therapeutic Area Strategy Team Lead-Transplant. Last summer, a team from CSL Behring including CEO Paul Perreault, met with leaders in transplant medicine at the American Transplant Congress in Seattle. The company is building partnerships in transplant medicine as it pursues potential new treatments, aimed at improving post-transplant outcomes and positively impacting the quality and quantity of organs available for transplant.

“Dr. Mezrich provides a fascinating look at the realities of transplantation today. We’re inspired by what might be possible in the years to come,” Kovaleski said.