In Being Mortal, best-selling 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 extend 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.
©2014 Atul Gawande (P)2014 Macmillan Audio
Yes, this book should be required reading for any medical professional of any kind who may ever have to help any patient make good decisions for themselves and their families against terminal or very debilitating illness. It should otherwise be read by well, anyone. We are all going to die. We either need to know what expectations to give those around us for those end times, either family or medical professionals or we need to know how best to guide our loved ones through the process of the end of their lives, because it will happen for all of us. Past that, this is a remarkably entertaining read. Oh, the parts about the history of nursing homes and assisted living made me yawn, but the rest had me spell bound. Dr. Gawnde's accounting of his own father's illness and death left me awash in emotion and even tears. The narration was perfect.
Mountainbiker, Skier, Riverman, Dzedo
A masterpiece of medical journalism. It is not an easy listen. Parts are unbearably sad. Contemplation of one's mortality in preparation for the inevitable, is something that most of us would just as soon put off thinking about until close to the end. This book is most recommended for those confronting life threatening illness, and for those with loved ones or family members doing so. It is also for those interested in first rate writing regardless of topic. This is that rare work that addresses life's most painful subjects with utmost lucidity, objectivity and sensitivity. It is a book that you come away from feeling as though you are, for reading it, better prepared to cope with the approaching end of life. It makes you feel as though you are better equipped to support loved ones. It is a masterful critique of contemporary medical practice and its approach to aging and dying. It offers a new vision of what medicine can and should offer the aged and the terminally ill. The patient narratives are gripping and yet painful to read and to contemplate. What would you do in similar circumstances? The narration is also first class.
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
What an interesting and clear overview of aging and end of life issues. Gawande covers the process of aging and end of life, what fragile elderly means, history and trends of their care, how other cultures do it, case studies, his own choices with his father and... the best discussion of these issues I have ever read. My MD son enjoyed the information as well.
Rather than provide what he thinks is the "right" way to face EOL issues, Gawande gives us questions to ask the individual to help them determine their "right" way. He encourages us to have the hard conversations in advance so that an individual's wishes can be respected. Excellent book for healthcare personnel, families and aging adults.
I adored "One doctor" by Brendan Reilly and some of the content is similar... even if you have read Reilly, I still feel this book is well worth reading.
English major. Love to read
I started to write that anybody over 50 ought to read this book, but that isn't true - everybody ought to read this book and wrestle with the idea of the end of life either for ourselves or our parents. Gawande is a superb researcher, a clear writer and he never loses the reader as he educates us about the american way of the end of life. A must read.
Because you - like me - are going to die one day. Because maybe you - and maybe I too - will become one day old and frail.
Because maybe you too - like me - have an old parent to care for. Maybe you too - like me - have lost a parent to a terminal illness.
And we have a lot of doubts, and hopes, and fears. This author helps us a bit, with his compassionate interest for unpleasant and important questions that concern us all.
Don't miss this book, it's important.
This book should be required reading (listening) for physicians, medical students, social workers, chaplains, and those who care about what really matters at the end of life.
The numerous stories clearly show how complex and challenging the art of care is.
From personal experience, I have observed how often family members resist the loved one's expressed wishes. Consequently, I was fascinated when the author shared his own father's story. Even in this medical family, the prospect of wrenching loss played out at the end in the poignant way that demonstrates how the heart has its reasons.
This book is a priceless contribution at a time when the implications of the anticipated tsunami of boomer care issues looms large.
This book should be required reading for anyone who has not faced the death of a loved one. It provides good preparation for the issues, choices and difficulties that we all face. Armed with this information, you will be better equipped to navigate through a journey where there are no right answers.
I have been an RN for 30 years and have watched the decline of our care for the elderly. This book is a must read for everyone. Families and the medical community needs to take a second look at how we care for the people who have made our lives possible. It is an honest and compassionate evaluation of long term care I gave a copy of this book to everyone for Christmas.
I would recommend this to anyone who is within 30 or 40 years of confronting their own death, or who has close family members who are about to do the same. Gawande hits the nail on the head: don't allow the cultural imperatives or the priorities of the medical establishment to determine how you end your life. That is for YOU to decide. And it's definitely OK to say no to more treatment. Gawande illustrates with vivid stories that are, at times, hard to handle. I choked up many times during the narration, but it was well worth it. Gawande is not only a good storyteller, but he seems to be an excellent and curious researcher. This book is packed with useful information and a perceptive analysis of our culture and the culture of the medical community. I repeat: this is a MUST READ for anyone over age 50 and also for anyone who is about to undergo any major medical treatment. There are things in this book that we all need to know.
Pekoff occasionally got some Indian pronounciations wrong, such as "chapat -is" instead of chapat-ees" but other than that, he was a wonderful choice for this audiobook.
I could not stop listening to this audiobook. I felt I had to keep listening to the end. It was compelling.
I'm Trying to see the world with my ears.
If you are the daughter of the parents that are Aging you must read this book . Medical science is designed to prevent us from doing that prematurely. But, sometimes, we need to step back and look at the meaning of the word "prematurely." When is it time to let go? When is it time to go full out? What is the meaning of quality of life?
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