Introduction

"The year is 2020. Ms. Jones is diagnosed, entirely by noninvasive means, with end-stage cirrhosis. She is scheduled for an elective liver "implant" in 6 weeks, which will allow time for her to undergo treatment to modify her immune system. The organ to be implanted is actually a "neo-organ," a shelf item that has been constructed of liver cells fashioned around a synthetic scaffold. This neo-organ is grafted into the recipient and becomes vascularized over time. It is capable of performing the vital synthetic functions of the liver. The operative time is short, blood loss is minimal, and recovery is relatively uncomplicated. The neo-liver begins to function immediately. Preoperative education did not include information about rejection or the potential side effects of chronic immunosuppressive therapy because these, fortunately, are phenomena of the past. Ms. Jones is discharged on the fifth postoperative day, and the hospital bill is well within the amount reimbursed under the DRG for a liver implant."[1]

So began the preface of Susan Smith's first book, Tissue and Organ Transplantation: Implications for Professional Nursing Practice. Now, a little over 10 years later, it is clear that what the author then referred to as a "visionary scenario" was not so far distant on the horizon.

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