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Starred Review. Surgeon and MacArthur fellow Gawande applies his gift for dulcet prose to medical and ethical dilemmas in this collection of 12 original and previously published essays adapted from the New England Journal of Medicine and the New Yorker. If his 2002 collection, Complications, addressed the unfathomable intractability of the body, this is largely about how we erect barriers to seamless and thorough care. Doctors know they should wash their hands more often to avoid bacterial transfer in the ward, but once a minute does seem extreme. Using chaperones for breast exams seems a fine idea, but it does make situations awkward. "The social dimension turns out to be as essential as the scientific," Gawande writes—a conclusion that could serve as a thumbnail summary of his entire output. The heart of the book are the chapters "What Doctors Owe," about the U.S.'s blinkered malpractice system, and "Piecework," about what doctors earn. Cheerier, paradoxically, are the chapters involving polio and cystic fibrosis, featuring Dr. Pankaj Bhatnagar and Dr. Warren Warwick, two remarkable men who have been able to catapult their humanity into their work rather than constantly stumble over it. Indeed, one suspects that once we cure the ills of the health care system, we'll look back and see that Gawande's writings were part of the story. (Apr.)
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A surgeon at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and an assistant professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Atul Gawande succeeds in putting a human face on controversial topics like malpractice and global disparities in medical care, while taking an unflinching look at his own failings as a doctor. Critics appreciated his candor, his sly sense of humor, and his skill in examining difficult issues from many perspectives. He conveys his messagethat doctors are only human and therefore must always be diligent and resourceful in fulfilling their dutiesin clear, confident prose. Most critics' only complaint was that half of the essays are reprints of earlier articles. Gawande's arguments, by turns inspiring and unsettling, may cause you to see your own doctor in a whole new light.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.See all Editorial Reviews
Read the book over a weekend. Easy to read, interesting and insightful.Published 6 days ago by Simona Jones
Powerful, engaging, thoughtful, addictive. It will certainly change how I look at my work and my life. Thanks Atul Gawande.Published 9 days ago by Hariz
I read all Dr. Gawande's books one after another. They read like very captivating novels. He is amazing and I hope he writes many more. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Brenda Young
Wow! What a thoughtful book! Each chapter describes an issue in medicine and how individuals or communities brought about positive change. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Z. Z.
Wow, what an eye-opener. Honest, thoughtful, compelling.
Should be (perhaps it is) required reading for every doctor and hospital administrator
Great book with interesting perspective on many different topics. Simply written piece of non fiction.Published 1 month ago by Jordana Firestone Goren
Fun read if you are open to having a fun read. I do like Dr. Gawande's writing style.Published 1 month ago by BEESINFLAG
I'm going into my surgical residency and the stories Dr. Gawande tells are spot on from what I hear many other doctors in the specialty says. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Stephen Stokes