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A Death RetoldJesica Santillan, the Bungled Transplant, and Paradoxes of Medical Citizenship$
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Keith Wailoo, Julie Livingston, and Peter Guarnaccia

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780807830598

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877524_wailoo

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Chronicles of an Accidental Death

(p.1) Introduction
A Death Retold

Keith Wailoo

Julie Livingston

Peter Guarnaccia

University of North Carolina Press

Jesica Santillan's case is an example of a grave and unprecedented error in the conduct of patient care. Jesica's death resulted from a simple but tragic mistake of donor-recipient mismatch in organ transplantation. There was a human error which occurred no one at Duke University Medical Center checked that the donor heart and lungs matched Jesica's blood type. Following this tragedy, the story developed rapidly and took new twists and turns, with themes of medical error and patient victimization overshadowed by issues of her immigration status. In revisiting Jesica's accident and examining the subsequent events and continuous debates generated by this case, this book reveals contradictory issues shaping American policies toward undocumented immigrants. It also explores the cultural meanings that emerged from this event and looks at the potent questions of citizenship and justice that lie at the heart of contemporary medicine.

Keywords:   Jesica Santillan, patient care, donor-recipient mismatch, organ transplantation, Duke University Medical Center, medical error, patient victimization, immigration, undocumented immigrants

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