NPR

'Interlaced Fingers' Traces Roots Of Racial Disparity In Kidney Transplants

When Dr. Vanessa Grubbs fell in love with a man whose kidneys were failing, he'd been waiting for a transplant for years. Her book explores the ways racial inequity is embedded in the system.
Dr. Vanessa Grubbs and Robert Phillips at their wedding in August 2005. Just a few months earlier, when his kidneys were failing, she gave him one of hers. Source: Courtesy of Vanessa Grubb

While she was a primary care doctor in Oakland, Calif., Dr. Vanessa Grubbs fell in love with a man who had been living with kidney disease since he was a teenager.

Their relationship brought Grubbs face to face with the dilemmas of kidney transplantation — and the racial biases she found to be embedded in the way donated kidneys are allocated. Robert Phillips, who eventually became her husband, had waited years for a transplant; Grubbs ended up donating one of her own kidneys to him. And along the way she found a new calling as a nephrologist — a kidney

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