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

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min read
Robert Smith Pledges To Pay Off Student Loans For Morehouse College's Class of 2019
The billionaire founder of investment firm Vista Equity Partners made the surprise announcement in front of roughly 400 students while delivering the college's commencement address on Sunday.
NPR3 min read
'There's Something About Sweetie' — Something Irrepressibly Joyous
Sandhya Menon's followup to her hit young adult novel When Dimple Met Rishi follows a young woman with a big voice, a big personality — and to her family's dismay (though not her own), a big body.
NPR2 min readPolitics
President Trump's Golf Scores Hacked On U.S. Golf Association Account
The awful scores of 101, 100, 108 and 102 were posted to Trump's USGA-administered handicap system on Friday, according to Golfweek.