The title of this profound work conveys the bold, uncertain, and often dangerous adventure in which medical professionals and their organ transplant and dialysis patients are engaged. Built around a series of case studies, The Courage to Fail is the product of collaborative first-hand research concerned with various social phenomena generated by transplantation and dialysis. The authors examine the individuals involved and the workings and atmosphere of some of the medical centers in which these forms of therapy have been developed. They examine "gift-exchange" dimensions of transplantation: the transcendent and tyrannical aspects of the "gift of life" that transplants entail for donors and recipients-and for medical professionals as well. They also analyze the dilemma of uncertainty inherent in medicine, which occurs with particular force in the development of such experimental techniques.Since publication of the original edition, the authors have continued to follow social and medical developments surrounding organ transplants and dialysis. In their new introduction, they discuss transplantation as a gift of life, how and when death occurs, efforts to procure more organs, and organ replacement and issues of equity. This book will be of interest to physicians, medical students, medical sociologists, and anyone interested in the history of and issues surrounding organ transplantation and dialysis.