- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 7 hours and 48 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Abridged
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: April 25, 2003
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00009KEJ7
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science Audiobook – Abridged
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Top customer reviews
The theme of this book is reflected in its three parts: Fallibility, Mystery and Uncertainty. Each part talks about a particular aspect of Gawande’s career as a surgeon that deals with the less-certain side of being a doctor. Each concept is accompanied by one or more anecdotal references to his own real-life cases that illustrate his point brilliantly.
And that point is that doctors know a lot - but they don’t know everything. Their education and practical experience can help prepare them with knowledge, but skill comes from years of learned real-world practice. I could really sympathize with him and the stressors he has to deal with. I’ve been guilty as well of feeling my doctor must and should know everything that is right for me to do. The truth is a lot more complicated than that.
This book doesn’t even take into consideration the patient frustrations with healthcare - cost, attention, etc. It really does focus on pulling the screen back and giving you a glimpse into the vast uncertainty that accompanies this sometimes wondrous profession.
This is NOT a book that says, “I’m a surgeon. Here’s all the supercool things I’ve done and this is why I’m awesome and don’t you wish you could get me as your doctor?” This book shows the doctor, warts and all, and makes them much more human.
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.
As a young Corpsman with the Marines, I was thrust into medicine, and learned very quickly what did and did not work. "Watch one, do one, teach one" is how we were instructed to learn medical practices. From diagnosing (even though we couldn't "diagnose" as Line Corpsmen...we still did essentially) cellulitis, learning to place sutures, to removing infected toenails, I made mistakes, but generally our medical skills quickly flourished, and we were able to practice outstanding medicine for the grunts.
Atul writes about this, and the decisions he had to make, which affect him to this day. As a surgeon and author, he actually cares about his patients, which is a great thing to have as a medical professional. While he doesn't touch on this very much in his book, his caring about the patients and following up is the mark of a true caregiver. For it is those doctors, medics, corpsmen, nurses, and other medical professionals that actually care and are empathic with their patients, yet know how to distance themselves when needed, that operate the best and can change medicine for the better.
A truly great read, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the healthcare system, surgery, medicine, and anyone who has ever worked in the medical field!