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A Death Retold – Jesica Santillan, the Bungled Transplant, and Paradoxes of Medical Citizenship - North Carolina Scholarship Online
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A Death Retold: Jesica Santillan, the Bungled Transplant, and Paradoxes of Medical Citizenship

Keith Wailoo, Julie Livingston, and Peter Guarnaccia


In February 2003, an undocumented immigrant teen from Mexico lay dying in a prominent American hospital due to a stunning medical oversight—she had received a heart-lung transplantation of the wrong blood type. In the following weeks, Jesica Santillan's tragedy became a portal into the complexities of American medicine, prompting contentious debate about new patterns and old problems in immigration, the hidden epidemic of medical error, the lines separating transplant “haves” from “have-nots,” the right to sue, and the challenges posed by “foreigners” crossing borders for medical care. This vo ... More

Keywords: Jesica Santillan, American medicine, immigration, medical error, transplant surgery, medical care, medical ethics, anthropology, health law, medical tourism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2006 Print ISBN-13: 9780807830598
Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014 DOI:10.5149/9780807877524_wailoo


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Keith Wailoo, editor

Julie Livingston, editor

Peter Guarnaccia, editor

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Keith Wailoo, Julie Livingston, and Peter Guarnaccia

1 Medical Error and the American Transplant Theater

America's Angel or Thieving Immigrant?

Susan E. Morgan, Tyler R. Harrison, Lisa Volk Chewning, and Jacklyn G. Habib

Hobson's Choices

Richard I. Cook

2 Justice and Chances Second Across the Border

The Politics of Second Chances

Keith Wailoo and Julie Livingston

Tucker's Heart

Susan E. Lederer

Justice in Organ Allocation

Rosamond Rhodes

Consuming Differences

Nancy Scheper-Hughes

3 Citizens And Foreigners/ Eligibility and Exclusion

Sympathy and Exclusion

Beatrix Hoffman

Eligibility for Organ Transplantation to Foreign Nationals

Eric M. Meslin, Karen R. Salmon, & Jason T. Eberl

4 Speaking for Jesica

Babes and Baboons

Lesley A. Sharp

Jesica Speaks?

Carolyn Rouse

Fame and Fortune

Nancy M. P. King