In April 2005, after just nine months of dating, Vanessa volunteered to donate her left kidney to Robert, who had been on dialysis for nearly five years when they met. When Vanessa discovered she was a match, she underwent intensive surgery to save her beloved’s life. From that moment on, she had a new fascination with the kidney and a forever bond with Robert, who would soon thereafter become her husband. Far from a prototypical romance story, this life-affirming experience forged an inimitable bond between Vanessa and Robert and became the catalyst for her new career.

Motivated by Robert's experience and her newfound knowledge, Vanessa became a nephrologist—a kidney doctor—and discovered far more about the realities of the specialty. Shaped by Vanessa's remarkable experiences as a doctor, a woman of color, a mother, and a kidney donor, Hundreds of Interlaced Fingers is a love story, an expose, and a clarion call for us all to consider the dualities of both loving and letting go.



“Part memoir, part medical guide, Dr. Vanessa Grubbs has written an unforgettable journey of the way love, health, and illness affect us all—doctors and patients. If you loved Jessica Zitter’s Extreme Measures or Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, Dr. Grubbs’s beautifully written book will connect with your heart and soul. Her book is a wonderful guide for people facing kidney disease, complete with information on how to navigate the health care system.”

ANGELO VOLANDES, Harvard physician and author of The Conversation

“Dr. Grubbs’ extraordinary story reminds us all of the Samaritan function of being a physician. Not only did she train as a kidney specialist because of the man she loves, but also gave him one of her kidneys. This gripping, heartfelt memoir is a deeply insightful look at health care in America as experienced by doctor and patient.”

ABRAHAM VERGHESE, author of Cutting for Stone


"With courage, honesty and hard-earned medical wisdom, Vanessa Grubbs takes readers on a journey through her own evolution as a doctor, a researcher of health disparities and a kidney donor. This beautiful memoir of love, illness and healing reflects on some of the deepest conundrums of medicine today —including uneven access to treatment and the challenges of caregiving.  A probing book for professionals and all of us who will be patients."

Sharon R. Kaufman PhD, author of Ordinary Medicine: Extraordinary Treatments, Longer Lives and Where to Draw the Line

Hundreds of Interlaced Fingers is a love story—love for a man, love for the profession of medicine, love for humanity, love for life. In the sure hands of Vanessa Grubbs, it is a story told beautifully, courageously, and honestly. You’ll never forget Vanessa and Robert, and you’ll never view medicine quite the same way again.”

ROBERT WACHTER, MD, author of New York Times bestseller of The Digital Doctor