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BEING MORTAL: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End (Wellcome Collection)

BEING MORTAL: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End (Wellcome Collection)

BEING MORTAL: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End (Wellcome
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BEING MORTAL: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End (Wellcome Collection)

by Gawande, Atul

  • Used
  • Fine
  • Hardcover
  • first
Condition
Fine/Fine
ISBN 10
1846685818
ISBN 13
9781846685811
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About This Item

New York, New York, U.S.A. : Wellcome Collection, 2014. 1st Edition 1st Printing. Hardcover. Fine/Fine. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, BEING MORTAL lasserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end. An Amazon Best Book of the Month, October 2014: True or false: Modern medicine is a miracle that has transformed all of our lives. If you said "true," you'd be right, of course, but that's a statement that demands an asterisk, a "but." "We've been wrong about what our job is in medicine," writes Atul Gawande, a surgeon (at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston) and a writer (at the New Yorker). "We think. . .[it] is to ensure health and survival. But really. . .it is to enable well-being. And well-being is about the reasons one wishes to be alive." Through interviews with doctors, stories from and about health care providers (such as the woman who pioneered the notion of "assisted living" for the elderly)-and eventually, by way of the story of his own father's dying, Gawande examines the cracks in the system of health care to the aged (i.e. 97 percent of medical students take no course in geriatrics) and to the seriously ill who might have different needs and expectations than the ones family members predict. (One striking example: the terminally ill former professor who told his daughter that "quality of life" for him meant the ongoing ability to enjoy chocolate ice cream and watch football on TV. If medical treatments might remove those pleasures, well, then, he wasn't sure he would submit to such treatments.) Doctors don't listen, Gawande suggests-or, more accurately, they don't know what to listen for. (Gawande includes examples of his own failings in this area.) Besides, they've been trained to want to find cures, attack problems-to win. But victory doesn't look the same to everyone, he asserts. Yes, "death is the enemy," he writes. "But the enemy has superior forces. Eventually, it wins. And in a war that you cannot win, you don't want a general who fights to the point of total annihilation. You don't want Custer. You want Robert E. Lee... Fine, first edition, first printing, in fine. mylar-protected dust jacket. [Not remainder-marked or price-clipped] NF94

Synopsis

ATUL GAWANDE is a surgeon, writer, and public health researcher. He practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He is also Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health. He has been a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine since 1998. He has written three New York Times bestselling books: Complications which was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2002; Better ; and The Checklist Manifesto He has won two National Magazine Awards, AcademyHealth's Impact Award for highest research impact on health care, a MacArthur Award, and selection by Foreign Policy Magazine and Time magazine as one of the world's top 100 influential thinkers.

Reviews

On Sep 21 2016, CloggieDownunder said:
Being Mortal is the fourth book by American surgeon and author, Atul Gawande. Early on in his book, he tells us :"…the purpose of medical schooling was to teach how to save lives, not how to tend to their demise" and that "I knew theoretically that my patients could die, of course, but every actual instance seemed like a violation, as if the rules I thought we were playing by were broken. I don't know what game I thought this was, but in it we always won".

But don't get the wrong idea: this is not a book about dying, so much, as a book that looks at how the latter hours, days, weeks, months or even years of life can be improved. As we get older, and usually frailer (because there is no "…automatic defrailer…" [p44] available to us), we need to rethink where the emphasis should lie: "…our most cruel failure in how we treat the sick and the aged is the failure to recognise that they have priorities beyond merely being safe and living longer…"



"We end up with institutions that address any number of societal goals – from freeing up hospital beds to taking burdens off families' hands to coping with poverty among the elderly – but never the goal that matters to the people who reside in them: how to make life worth living when we're weak and frail and can't fend for ourselves". Gawande's wife's grandmother, when institutionalised, remarked: "She felt incarcerated, like she was in prison for being old"

Gawande backs up his ideas with plenty of data that is both fascinating and revealing. And while an information dump could be boring, he illustrates all this with the results of studies and anecdotes about real people. It doesn't get much more personal than the experience of his own father's decline.

"Our responsibility, in medicine, is to deal with human beings as they are. People die only once. They have no experience to draw on. They need doctors and nurses who are willing to have the hard discussions and say what they have seen, who will help people prepare for what is to come…"

While many practitioners of palliative care will be familiar with what Gawande says, this book should be compulsory reading for most health care professionals. Oncologists, gerontologists, surgeons and intensivists (and their patients!) in particular would benefit from reading this book from cover to cover; those of us with ageing or debilitated family members, or those wanting to plan for their own eventual decline, would also find this book interesting and useful.

He concludes: "We've been wrong about what our job is in medicine. We think our job is to ensure health and survival. But really it is larger than that. It is to enable well-being. And well-being is about the reasons one wishes to be alive. Those reasons matter not just at the end of life, or when debility comes, but all along the way. Whenever serious sickness or injury strikes and your body or mind breaks down, the vital questions are the same: What is your understanding of the situation and its potential outcomes? What are your fears and what are your hopes? What are the trade-offs you are willing to make and not willing to make? And what is the course of action that best serves this understanding?" Recommended.

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Details

Bookseller
Joe Staats, Bookseller US (US)
Bookseller's Inventory #
024846
Title
BEING MORTAL: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End (Wellcome Collection)
Author
Gawande, Atul
Format/Binding
Hardcover
Book Condition
Used - Fine
Jacket Condition
Fine
Quantity Available
1
Edition
1st Edition 1st Printing
ISBN 10
1846685818
ISBN 13
9781846685811
Publisher
Wellcome Collection
Place of Publication
New York, New York, U.S.A.
Date Published
2014
Pages
288
Size
8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall

Terms of Sale

Joe Staats, Bookseller

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About the Seller

Joe Staats, Bookseller

Seller rating:
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About Joe Staats, Bookseller

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