May 12, 2021

David Weill

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes pulmonologist, organ transplant specialist, and patient advocate DAVID WEILL for a discussion of his book Exhale: Hope, Healing, and a Life in Transplant. He will be joined in conversation by acclaimed physician and author DANIELLE OFRI, founder and editor-in-chief of Bellevue Literary Review.


A young father with a rare form of lung cancer who has been turned down for a transplant by several hospitals. A kid who was considered not “smart enough” to be worthy of a transplant. A young mother dying on the waiting list in front of her two small children. A father losing his oldest daughter after a transplant goes awry. The nights waiting for donor lungs to become available, understanding that someone needed to die so that another patient could live.

These are some of the stories in Exhale, a memoir about Dr. Weill’s ten years spent directing the lung transplant program at Stanford. Through these stories, he shows not only the miracle of transplantation, but also how it is a very human endeavor performed by people with strengths and weaknesses, powerful attributes, and profound flaws.

Exhale is an inside look at the world of high-stakes medicine, complete with the decisions that are confronted, the mistakes that are made, and the story of a transplant doctor’s slow recognition that he needed to step away from the front lines. This book is an exploration of holding on too tight, of losing one’s way, and of the power of another kind of decision—to leave behind everything for a fresh start.

About Author(s)

David Weill is the former Director of the Center for Advanced Lung Disease and the Lung Transplant Program at Stanford. He is currently the Principal of Weill Consulting Group, which focuses on improving the delivery of transplant care. Dr. Weill’s writing has appeared in the Wall Street JournalSalonNewsweek, the Chicago TribuneSTAT, and the Washington Post. He also has been interviewed on CNN and by the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Wall Street Journal.

Danielle Ofri is one of the foremost voices in the medical world today, speaking passionately about the doctor-patient relationship and bringing humanity back to health care. She has been a practicing physician at Bellevue Hospital for more than two decades and is a clinical professor of medicine at NYU. She is a founder and editor-in-chief of Bellevue Literary Review. Her writing appears in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Slate MagazineThe LancetNEJM, as well as in Best American Essays and Best American Science Writing. She has performed stories for the Moth and her TED talks include 'Deconstructing Perfection' and 'Fear: A Necessary Emotion'. Ofri is the author of six books about life in medicine. Her newest book is When We Do Harm: A Doctor Confronts Medical Error.