This book tells the extraordinary story of how the function of the first - and so far almost the only - human organ was replaced by a machine, and the "artificial kidney" entered medical and public folk-lore. A practical artificial kidney, or dialyser, came about by advances in science followed by the acquisition of new synthetic materials which made the application of these ideas possible. However it was the dedication and persistence of a number of talented
pioneers who pressed ahead against professional opposition to achieve success, first in the treatment of temporary, recoverable kidney failure, and then permanent renal shut-down which made it a success. The apparent high cost and limited availability of this form of treatment immediately raised ethical
questions which had never been questioned before, centering around equity of access to treatment, when and if treatment could be denied, and - worst of all - the agonising decision of when, once established, it should be stopped. Spiralling costs as the true number of people with kidney failure became evident raised major political and financial questions, which were addressed in different countries in different ways which reflected - but also helped change - patterns of how medical care is
provided. In developed countries, the problem could be solved by allocating a disproportionate amount of money to the treatment of relatively few kidney patients, but in the developing world the cost of treatment still limits its availability, as it does all forms of modern health care.
Nevertheless, today almost one million people world-wide are maintained alive following terminal kidney failure, two thirds of them by various forms of dialysis and the remainder bearing kidney transplants, almost always placed after a period on dialysis. The story is also the sum of the often heroic lives of these hundreds of thousands of patients, a few of whom have today been maintained alive and active for more than 35 years, and many of whom suffered known, but also unexpected
complications as a result of their treatment.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 759 g
Dimensions: 242 x 163 x 25 mm
An intelligent and engaging account of dialysis from the early days to the present... I found the whole story fascinating and appreciated the inclusion of many reproductions and illustrations. The references are full and the assessement by Cameron is remarkably fair and modest for one who has himself made important advances in this specialty. * The Lancet *
This book should be read by all who are seriously interested in renal replacement therapy, and should be on the bookshelf of all units... It is well written and exceptionally well illustrated... a unique book. * British Journal of Renal Medicine *
As well as clinicians, other medical historians . . . will find this book a treasure trove in both its contents and the way in which the curtain is drawn back on the complexity of clinical advances. * Medical History *
A book to spend time with on a cold and rainy fall