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Complications Audiobook

Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science

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Publisher's Summary

Sometimes in medicine the only way to know what is truly going on in a patient is to operate, to look inside with one's own eyes. This book is exploratory surgery on medicine itself, laying bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is - complicated, perplexing, and profoundly human.

Atul Gawande offers an unflinching view from the scalpel's edge, where science is ambiguous, information is limited, the stakes are high, yet decisions must be made. In dramatic and revealing stories of patients and doctors, he explores how deadly mistakes occur, why good surgeons go bad. He shows what happens when medicine comes up against the inexplicable: an architect with incapacitating back pain for which there is no physical cause; a young woman with nausea that won't go away; a television newscaster whose blushing is so severe that she cannot do her job. Gawande also ponders the human factor that makes saving lives possible.

At once tough-minded and humane, Complications is a new kind of medical writing, nuanced and lucid, unafraid to confront the conflicts and uncertainties that lie at the heart of modern medicine, yet always alive to the possibilities of wisdom in this extraordinary endeavor.

©2002 Atul Gawande (P)2003 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

What the Critics Say

"Gawande's sharp eye, crisp prose, and insightful understanding make his book as enjoyable as it is edifying." (Los Angeles Times )
"Diagnosis: riveting." (Time)
"These exquisitely crafted essays, in which medical subjects segue into explorations of much larger themes, place Gawande among the best in the field." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Angela 07-31-16
    Angela 07-31-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Brilliant read"
    If you could sum up Complications in three words, what would they be?

    informative eye-opening must-read


    What did you like best about this story?

    The revelation that doctors are fallible human beings - not super beings. It also highlights the fact that any medical procedure is risky


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan 01-26-16
    Dan 01-26-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Incredible insight"

    I will be reading more of Gawande's work. A touching and intimate view on a profession most of us could not empathise with.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Jessica Mecklosky 11-05-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Lovely story, reader was difficult to listen to."
    What made the experience of listening to Complications the most enjoyable?

    As a pre-med student I LOVED hearing all of these stories! It just made me more excited for the future even with the admittance of how medicine is never perfect


    Any additional comments?

    The performer was difficult to listen to. His "w"'s were painful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Land-de Wilde 10-22-15
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    "Unsettling"

    As a consumer, this was very educational. Although we know to always seek multiple opinions, Gawande talks about the guesswork and uncertainty involved in a lot of diagnoses and treatments. This book left me less confident than ever about the information available as a layperson. The reader of this book is a good one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    omar_alzuman 10-06-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Great book with interesting experience"

    This book is going to give you a new respect to how surgeons work and there feelings and emotions.. Five stars

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jddelaney 09-15-15
    Jddelaney 09-15-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Surprisingly Honest"

    It is refreshing to hear a physician admit his profession is not infallible. Very interesting!

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  •  
    Guia 06-15-15
    Guia 06-15-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Highly recomended"

    A book that everyone in the medical field should definitely listen to, worth your time and money.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lucilu 05-18-15
    lucilu 05-18-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Loved it."

    Great book; it helped me become more familiar with the realities of being a surgeon. It is Definitely worth reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maggie McMeekin Arlington Heights, IL, US 07-29-14
    Maggie McMeekin Arlington Heights, IL, US 07-29-14 Member Since 2012

    I am a 27 year old nurse pursuing a nurse practitioner degree. My favorite book genres are: fantasy, science fiction, medicine and sociology

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    "Interesting"
    Any additional comments?

    An interesting perspective on how we are all human, and the sort of subjective factors that impact surgeons and doctors on a daily basis. This was a very quick listen for me. I found it well written, peppered with humor as well as touching human perspective. I recommend it to those working in the medical profession as well as anyone interested in gaining some insight on the challenges that physicians face on a regular basis. While nobody likes to be the patient that ends up the one the doctor makes a bad judgment call on, it is inevitable, there is no perfect human being and nobody performs without error in ANY profession. The pressure is high and medicine is very tricky, and I feel books like this one help warm people's hearts and break down their ignorance. Perhaps it can help reduce the knee jerk reactions of those who are quick to judge doctors harshly or immediately want to sue over medical errors or judgment calls made in tense, critical moments of life and death.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    gronlandic_edit 07-20-14 Member Since 2013
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    "An unflinching look at the fallibility of medicine"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes. This book humanizes doctors and demystifies medicine, revealing its errors without provoking fear. Maybe it's paradoxical, but calling into question medicine's perfectibility is actually kind of empowering because it means we can't let doctors bear all the responsibility for a well-functioning health care system -- we have to look at the whole ecosystem of hospitals and managed care to understand why things go wrong, and then take part in improving the situation. Gawande densely layers interesting anecdotes and interweaves medical marvels with ordinary human experiences -- particularly those of patients. Despite being nominally autobiographical, this isn't a compendium of war stories. Gawande is balanced, self-aware and, surprisingly for someone so successful in the mainstream, not self-aggrandizing. He only involves himself to the extent necessary to round out the anecdotes.

    The book loses focus towards the end and does start to feel a little like an anthology of stories and/or essays, and I'm not sure the overall thesis is well sustained, but so far it's the best thing I've read on the practice of modern medicine.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Complications?

    His account of the congress of American surgeons was funny and poignant. He clearly has a goofy sense of humour and an anthropologist's eye for professional culture -- the good and the bad. This was one of the moments that did the most for me in humanizing surgeons without making them look foolish or, worse, inept.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by William David Griffith?

    His narration was pretty good. He mispronounces stuff from time to time which can be a little distracting, but overall he was pleasant enough to listen to.


    Could you see Complications being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Not really. There's no storyline or protagonist, and it jumps around in time a lot.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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