Amazon Book Description
- For most of human history, death was a common, ever-present possibility. It didn't matter whether you were five or fifty - every day was a roll of the dice. But now, as medical advances push the boundaries of survival further each year, we have become increasingly detached from the reality of being mortal.
- So here is a book about the modern experience of mortality - about what it's like to get old and die, how medicine has changed this and how it hasn't, where our ideas about death have gone wrong.
- With his trademark mix of perceptiveness and sensitivity, Atul Gawande outlines a story that crosses the globe, as he examines his experiences as a surgeon and those of his patients and family, and learns to accept the limits of what he can do.
- Never before has aging been such an important topic. The systems that we have put in place to manage our mortality are manifestly failing; but, as Gawande reveals, it doesn't have to be this way. The ultimate goal, after all, is not a good death, but a good life - all the way to the very end.
- I enjoyed this book, and found it useful, but took no notes.
- It starts off with a discussion of Ivan Ilych1 from the perspective of teaching medical students that sometimes patients need more than a cure (especially if the latter is impossible). Medicine should not just be thought of as a set of technical problems to be solved.
- End-of-life care turns into torture2 because risks cannot be taken, and personal autonomy is destroyed in the interests of safety and the convenience of the institution.
- Some useful accounts of “hospice” care in the home – rather than in “hospices”.
- Accounts of the positive effects of pets in institutionalised settings.
- The importance of facing the “end game”, both individually and as a family, and the doctor’s roll in this.
In-Page Footnotes ("Gawande (Atul) - Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End")
Footnote 2: There seemed to be some analogy with "Kesey (Ken), Faggen (Robert) - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest".
Profile Books Ltd (1 July 2015)
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)