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Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by [Gawande, Atul]
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Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Length: 300 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Product Description


In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending

Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person's last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.
Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1090 KB
  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books; 1 edition (7 October 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JCW0BCY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book is the third written by Boston based surgeon about medical matters close to his heart - the ethics and morality of what modern day medical practice is all about. He is also a staff writer for The New York Times and a professor at Harvard. It is a rare person who can take the scary science of medicine, humanise and demystify for us ignorant saps what really drives doctors and surgeons in their high pressure, high stakes work.

Three certainties in life - birth, death, and taxes. We don't remember our births, and nothing really of the first two years of life. Taxes, well, we know all about them, and nothing we can do about those. Death and with it getting old - we don't want to face all that ickiness, losing our memories, eyesight, hearing, mobility, senility, bodily functions. And what about disease and sickness? All far too scary. And who wants to go and live in a rest home - visions of old people shrivelled up in wheelchairs, sitting zombie like in front of tele, dinner at 5pm. Is this what our active, interesting and stimulating lives have been reduced to? And is getting old, and the process of dying something we can have some control of, something we can do about?

Well, we can't prevent it happening, but we can certainly make it easier for ourselves and our families, which is the author's focus in this book. As a doctor, he has been trained in the physical care of the elderly. But his experiences in dealing with elderly people, including his own grandmother and father, have shown him that good care is about so much more than prescribing medication, four walls and three meals a day. He identifies the three enemies of successfully managing old age - boredom, loneliness and helplessness. Any of these three have an immediate negative impact on one's quality of life.
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As a Palliative Care physician of nearly 30 years experience, I have not read a better reasoned or more convincing argument for good palliative care integrated into all aspects of medicine. Sadly, I must agree with Dr Gawande that the continued need for my discipline to exist is a measure of failure, and that true success would see all health care systems capable of doing what palliative care now does as a specialty. This book, written from within medicine, and by a specialist in a discipline often seen as opposing, or at least failing to understand palliative care, is a far more powerful means to that end than any number of earnest lectures from the likes of me. It is so because it is beautifully written, deeply considered, erudite and above all deeply personal. EVERY medical student should read it, and be required to have as much skill and comfort in having difficult but crucial conversations as they do in naming muscles and writing prescriptions.
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This book was recommended by a family member as I am myself going through cancer and am making hard decisions about treatments and the quality of life I don't want to lose. Reading this book has helped me immensely to feel it's ok to want quality over quantity regardless of the pressure applied by some medical staff and even friends and family. I agree with so many statements and points of view stated in this book.
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It’s rare that I start a review with a glorious recommendation (or a complete rejection for that matter). But it’s also rare that I come across a book like Being Mortal. So let me say it straight out – this one is a must-read for everyone (yes, everyone)!

Well unless you don’t know (or care about) someone who is in the later stages of their life, or you think that you possess the eternal fountain of youth and immortality, then by all means – ignore this book. Else – read it. It’s not the most pleasant read (okay, to be completely honest, it’s not a pleasant read at all), but trust me, it’s an important one.

Being Mortal – An Overview

The author covers a lot of ground in this book, which makes it very hard to give a proper summary, without going on and on for eternity, so I will try to condense it as much as I can, but know this, there is no way any summary can do justice to the content of this book.

Having said that, if I had to pick just one overarching theme, I would say this book is about death and dying – but on one’s own terms. Though there is so much more to it than that.

In this book, the author explores the history of elder care in America, from home care, to poorhouses, to nursing homes, to assisted living.

It’s also a calm critique on modern medicine. He doesn’t really place the blame anywhere in particular, it’s mostly an unbiased dissection of the reality of our times and the medical profession.

But more than anything else, Being Mortal is a distillation of what Mr. Gawande has learned – as a doctor, who has had considerable exposure to issues of death and dying, and also as a son, who has gone through losing his father to brain cancer.

Read the full review on SHANAYA TALES DOT COM.
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This book should be required reading for every medical practitioner, every person who has anything to do with care for the aged or terminally ill, and would be extremely helpful for family members to read as well.
Chock full of useful anecdotes to go with the powerful observations made, and set out in such a logical sequence, it's actually a hard book to put down.
I especially found the observations in pages 199-202 about the styles of medical advice interesting. It's interesting that the third type of doctor is what we are drawn to and yet are so difficult to find. Thankfully my G.P. is just such a doctor.
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