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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

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  •  
    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 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JustBill 07-05-13
    JustBill 07-05-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "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
  •  
    Suzan Daly City, CA, USA 05-18-03
    Suzan Daly City, CA, USA 05-18-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't Listen To This Before Having Surgery"

    It's disturbing to realize that doctors are usually guessing when they diagnose and treat a patient. According to Dr. Gawande, whether you leave the operating room alive depends more on luck than on the skill of the doc. who's cutting you open. I'm not sure how doctors justify their exhorbitant fees or enormous egos if all they are doing half the time is spitballing. I've had loved ones in the ICU who nearly died because a doctor made an unlucky guess, and listening to this audiobok didn't improve my already jaundiced opinion of the medical profession. As a collection of horror stories "Complications" is mildly interesting, but is bogged down in tiresome detail and medical jargon. The reader has a pleasant voice but lacks conviction in his delivery and tends to drone on and on in a monotone.

    11 of 50 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bradley Orange, CA, USA 11-14-08
    Bradley Orange, CA, USA 11-14-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    Overall
    "No format.."

    It should be called complications because of his lack of writing style. He's all over the place. Some intresting history in it but that's about all.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful

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