Book Review

Review: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Being Mortal

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Adult, one curse word, no love scenes, or violence
Length: 282 pages
Author: Atul Gawande
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
Release Date: October 7th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

 

BOOK SUMMARY:

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 extends 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.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

MAKES YOU RECONSIDER.

While personally, death and all qualifying concepts still frighten me to some degree, I enjoyed the truths this book emanated.

Death is a hard conversation, and those right in the line of fire aren’t always getting the best that could be given them. NOT because of horrible doctors or anything to that affect [within regards to this book], just because, all of us are needing to learn how to ask the right questions. There’s so much more in those last few months of life that could be better handled if all of us approached it differently.

This book really opened my eyes to that line of thinking. What trade-offs are you willing to give for maybe a chance at having more time? We all will eventually have someone in our lives (or unfortunately, be this person) that wants to truly understand what’s happening. I feel marginally more prepared to handle these issues in the future. I appreciate Dr. Gawande’s take and how he addressed the topics and his own short-comings.

Hospice, assisted living, and other entities of this sort can be a lot more powerful when programs are appropriately provided and everyone understands the essence of care needed to help patients have the best day, they can at that moment.

A quick, thought-provoking read. One curse word was used. Appropriate for any audience comfortable with confronting the realities of mortality.