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Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science | [Atul Gawande]

Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science

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.
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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

4.4 (440 )
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4.3 (149 )
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Performance
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  •  
    nancy Redlands, CA, United States 07-03-12
    nancy Redlands, CA, United States 07-03-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    9
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    Performance
    Story
    "Being a doctor is hardly a clear path to healing."
    What made the experience of listening to Complications the most enjoyable?

    Dr. Gawande shares personal stories while weaving in details about medicine that are gripping.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Make it longer! I was shocked when it ended so soon.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A surgeon's notes on an imperfect sceince.


    Any additional comments?

    Really some interesting and revealing stories as well as information. I have discussed this book several times since I listened to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Oliver 03-02-12
    Oliver 03-02-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good reflections, thoughtful"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Complications to be better than the print version?

    Haven't read print version.


    Any additional comments?

    This was a thoughtful book about risk, patient choice, and the practice of medicine. I found both the first and last 3rds of the book very good, while there was a section in the middle that was less interesting for me. Overall a v. good listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Sewell Milford Square, PA USA 11-22-11
    C. Sewell Milford Square, PA USA 11-22-11

    blueskies

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    "This book helps understand how surgeons are people"

    I enjoyed this book very much. It gave me an insight into the world of medicine - was well written and read. I've recommended the book to several friends, which I don't do as a rule.

    If you have an interest in understanding how doctors think and work - this is a very good book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Micah College Station, TX, United States 11-09-11
    Micah College Station, TX, United States 11-09-11
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    12
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    "Intriguing"

    A very insightful view from the perspective of a surgeon. The real-life stories were interesting, and he makes some good points about inherent problems in the medical field.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisalynn Concord, MA, United States 01-10-11
    Lisalynn Concord, MA, United States 01-10-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "Why Abridged?"

    LOVED this book- the writing, the narration, everything except the fact that it was abridged.
    Arrgh! Why? As an audio reader, I want the whole thing. The whole, entire book, please!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mohamed Pittsburgh, PA, USA 07-06-09
    Mohamed Pittsburgh, PA, USA 07-06-09
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    2
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    "Food for thoughts"

    I really admire Atul for writing this inspiring book. It is an amazing description of this uncertain art we call Medicine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Subbiah Tempe, AZ, USA 11-28-08
    Subbiah Tempe, AZ, USA 11-28-08
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
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    "Very Frank"

    Dear Dr.Gawande:
    I appreciate your frankness while describing your mistakes. This book is filled with beautiful nuances and has made me think deeply about my priorities as a Medical Doctor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barb Kansas City , MO, USA 04-25-08
    Barb Kansas City , MO, USA 04-25-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mostly interesting"

    As a nurse, I don't usually care to read medical stories- I live enough of them. But I assumed this book would be about "complications" of medical care and thought that might be fun. Why would I think that? Anyway, the author does cover a little about complications, but the medical topics are all over the place. I don't disagree with much of what he writes, but the style is a little odd. It's fairly stiff writing, with an occasional burst of "creative" writing as when he describes the pathologist doing an autopsy as having "long sandy brown hair", or the man going for obesity surgery as "deep sad hazel eyes". These touches seems weird and incongruent with the rest of the style. Because I listened to this book, part of the problem might be the reader. He reads as if for someone who is not completely fluent in English, over articulating words and speaking unnaturally slow and in a monotone voice.
    I still would recommend this abridged version to those who want some insight into the world of physicians-- but not to those looking for the drama of some juicy medical complications.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tej Cupertino, CA, USA 09-05-07
    Tej Cupertino, CA, USA 09-05-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    46
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    "A heart thumper"

    Got thru it but my heart was racing. Atul does a great job of pulling the listener right into the medical events and procedures... pretty darn cool when someone can do that.. Kept me asking for the Unabridged version.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bill 07-05-13
    bill 07-05-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    19
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    0
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    "Fooled once again."
    What did you like best about Complications? What did you like least?

    Have you ever left the doctors office feeling you did not get what you paid for? I felt that exact feeling at the end of this book.


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

    No


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

    I just might recommend old Ben Casey episodes.


    Any additional comments?

    What a disappointment.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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