- Paperback: 269 pages
- Publisher: Picador; 1st edition (April 1, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312421702
- ISBN-13: 978-0312421700
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 21.1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 649 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science 1st Edition
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Gently dismantling the myth of medical infallibility, Dr. Atul Gawande's Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science is essential reading for anyone involved in medicine--on either end of the stethoscope. Medical professionals make mistakes, learn on the job, and improvise much of their technique and self-confidence. Gawande's tales are humane and passionate reminders that doctors are people, too. His prose is thoughtful and deeply engaging, shifting from sometimes painful stories of suffering patients (including his own child) to intriguing suggestions for improving medicine with the same care he expresses in the surgical theater. Some of his ideas will make health care providers nervous or even angry, but his disarming style, confessional tone, and thoughtful arguments should win over most readers. Complications is a book with heart and an excellent bedside manner, celebrating rather than berating doctors for being merely human. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Medicine reveals itself as a fascinatingly complex and "fundamentally human endeavor" in this distinguished debut essay collection by a surgical resident and staff writer for the New Yorker. Gawande, a former Rhodes scholar and Harvard Medical School graduate, illuminates "the moments in which medicine actually happens," and describes his profession as an "enterprise of constantly changing knowledge, uncertain information, fallible individuals, and at the same time lives on the line." Gawande's background in philosophy and ethics is evident throughout these pieces, which range from edgy accounts of medical traumas to sobering analyses of doctors' anxieties and burnout. With humor, sensitivity and critical intelligence, he explores the pros and cons of new technologies, including a controversial factory model for routine surgeries that delivers superior success rates while dramatically cutting costs. He also describes treatment of such challenging conditions as morbid obesity, chronic pain and necrotizing fasciitis the often-fatal condition caused by dreaded "flesh-eating bacteria" and probes the agonizing process by which physicians balance knowledge and intuition to make seemingly impossible decisions. What draws practitioners to this challenging profession, he concludes, is the promise of "the alterable moment the fragile but crystalline opportunity for one's know-how, ability or just gut instinct to change the course of another's life for the better." These exquisitely crafted essays, in which medical subjects segue into explorations of much larger themes, place Gawande among the best in the field. National author tour.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The marketplace is lacking in good literature on this subspace of healthcare, yet there are so many interesting and controversial aspects of it.
Atul Gawande is a fantastic writer and thinker. I have read all of his books, but I find this one most interesting and instructive. "The Checklist Manifesto" is a great manual for preventing mistakes, but is a bit dry. "Better", his other book, has some interesting stories and presents a fair set of good ideas on improving care.
"Complications" is the one I found to be full of interesting and detailed accounts of what it is like to learn to be a surgeon, be a surgeon, and provides an insider's view on the discipline and the industry. Atul does a great job providing detail on the practices without overwhelming with jargon.
This book is intriguing, it shows the hidden world of surgeons, and the imperfection both in themselves, and in their highly regarded profession. It has also made me more emphatic with doctors, as I have learned about their limitations and understood, that they are only humans, humans who make mistakes. As a software developer I could also feel the pain in the absent of standards, and well defined methods. Altough surgery is a bit older than Software Engineering, they are both children in their sense.
A must read for everybody, especially my fellow colleagues, after this book you will see that they are in the same phase, already left the waterfall method for better ones, but struggling to find the perfect way of handling patients (processes).
The author discusses issues regarding the surgery and the OR. Some people want to believe that surgeons are infallible and that their health decisions are black and white. Gawande talks candidly about the world "behind the OR door" pointing out that doctors are only human, and are limited by several factors discussed in the book. He writes about some touchy end-of-life decision making and the life/death decisions doctors and patients have to make. He even writes about how patients in fact don't really want to make theses decisions and want the doctors to make them. I found the medical stories and example the author used to be engaging and interested, they kept me engaged amid statistics that might otherwise have been dry and boring.
If you have blinders when it comes to Doctor and healthcare and don't really want to face the infallibility of our medical system, this book is not for you. I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 because I think the author could have gone even deeper into several of the subjects he discusses and that would have made for and even more interesting read but in all fairness I think I'm probably in the minority there.