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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

Critic Reviews

"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)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting and Entertaining

I was worried this book was going to be boring, but I really enjoyed it. The stories are interesting, and the author did a good job of arranging the topics, etc. I definitely recommend this one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Stephen
  • Moroni, UT, United States
  • 03-15-05

Wonderful Book!

Interested in medicine? Do you wonder what doctors are really like? Then you should enjoy this book. It covers medical ethics, medical mistakes, abuse, and more. Highly recommended. I enjoyed it from begining to end. You will enjoy it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Full of insight

Wonderful! If you are familiar with science and the uncertainties of real life research (and practice) as opposed to the text book models of "scientific process", this book won't come as a shock. It is a brilliant exploration of the uncertainties in the science of medicine and the impact that human beings, with their frailties and their brilliant insights, have on a medicine. While I must admit it leaves me somewhat more nervous about major medical procedures, if more people understood medicine as presented here, we would probably not be plagued with so many law suits, the resultant high malpractice insurance fees and the final result of high cost health care. At the same time, if some of the insights presented in this book were translated into new systems and practices in the medical field, we probably would also not have so much human error to begin with. A great listen I recommend highly.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Do you hate your doctor?

Why? Have you ever asked yourself why your doctor doesn't solve all your medical problems?
This book provides the necessary answers and insights into medical school, residency, fellowship, and medical practice.
Doctors as a whole are very good at what hey do, the bad ones are the ones we read about in the news, not the good ones.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joseph
  • Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • 03-14-13

Great Read if your a medical Bod

Where does Complications rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Its in the top 10 and I have 100's. I does make the medical profession look human. As a Dr my self I found it so revealing. It visited feelings and concerns I had not looked at for 20 years or more. Its well written, well narrated and a moving account of how difficult being a Dr actually is. Well recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • KAydin
  • Washington, DC
  • 11-07-05

Must read for believers of informed consent!

WOW! What a great book and really informative! I am a firm believer in informed consent when planning on surgery. This is a must read/listen for any patient or health provider. Let's be honest, it can't all fall on the service provder's shoulders, we also need to take some responsibility for our own health. By working together with our service provider, we can be much more likely to reach our goals. This book allows us to be informed of what could happen so that we can learn how to avoid unnecessary complications.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gregory
  • Turlock, CA, USA
  • 11-16-04

absolutely essential for any future doctor

This was the best book I have listened to in my last year as an Audible Member. I am a pre-medical student, and listening to Dr. Gawande's excellent storytelling absolutely captivated me. I have listened to this book about three times total now. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the often mysterious world of medicine and surgery.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Unqualified praise

Written with both emotion and objectivity, Complications is a fascinating look at the practice of modern medicine. Through actual case histories, Gawande marvels over the successes and admits the shortcomings of today's doctors, attempting all the while to explain that they are merely human beings, capable of faults but trying, often selflessly, to reduce the suffering of other human beings. Probably best for the science-savvy, or at least the 'ER' crowd, as it is rife with clinical explanations which, though excellent and accessible, may bore the average reader. Inspiring and humbling. (I am, by the way, neither a doctor nor a relative of one.)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Velile Nare
  • 09-24-15

Raises questions about healthcare

This book raised valid points about health and social care practice. additionally, the book covers aspects of individual care and fallibility in the system. i especially enoyed the human aspect of this, the idea that we are prone to error. it is normal.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr A.P. Thorpe
  • 02-11-15

Excellent, thought provoking

An excellent review which, as an ex surgeon struck a real chord with me. Examines with stark honesty the strengths and failings of a medical career based around cases he has followed. Great insight, real honesty and ultimately a warming and thoroughly human story. Read it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chee-Yean
  • 08-21-11

Insightful

I am a senior surgical trainee in the UK. This is an excellent audiobook. Well written and narrated. Highly recommended for all.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alistair
  • 08-12-06

Great insight in to the mind of a doctor.

A great insight into the dilemmas of medicine and how medicine is an art and a science at the same time. Of interest to any doctor.