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Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Scienceby Atul Gawande
Synopses & Reviews
A brilliant and courageous doctor reveals, in gripping accounts of true cases, the power and limits of modern medicine.
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 and why good surgeons go bad. He also shows us 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 offers a richly detailed portrait of the people and the science, even as he tackles the paradoxes and imperfections inherent in caring for human lives.
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.
"Complications is a uniquely soulful book about the science of mending bodies." Adam Gopnik, author of From Paris to the Moon
"None surpass Gawande in the ability to create a sense of immediacy, in his power to conjure the reality of the ward, the thrill of the moment-by-moment medical or surgical drama. Complications impresses for its truth and authenticity, virtues that it owes to its author being as much forceful writer as uncompromising chronicler." The New York Times Book Review
"Complications is a book about medicine that reads like a thriller." Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point
"If Gawande's hands in the operating room are as sure as his handling of words, his success in his chosen career is all but guaranteed." Kirkus Reviews
In gripping accounts of true cases, surgeon Atul Gawande explores the power and the limits of medicine, offering an unflinching view from the scalpel's edge. Complications lays bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is — uncertain, perplexing, and profoundly human.
In gripping accounts of true cases, surgeon Atul Gawande explores the power and the limits of medicine, offering an unflinching view from the scalpels edge. Complications lays bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is—uncertain, perplexing, and profoundly human.
Complications is a 2002 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction.
About the Author
Atul Gawande is a surgical resident at a hospital in Boston and a staff writer on medicine and science for The New Yorker. A graduate of Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, he has had his writing selected to appear in The Best American Essays 2002. Gawande lives with his wife and three children in Newton, Massachusetts.
Table of Contents
Pt. 1. Fallibility: Education of a knife — The computer and the hernia factory — When doctors make mistakes — Nine thousand surgeons — When good doctors go bad — Pt. 2. Mystery: Full moon Friday the thirteenth — The pain perplex — A queasy feeling — Crimson tide — The man who couldn't stop eating — Pt. 3. Uncertainty: Final cut — The dead baby mystery — Whose body is it anyway? — The case of the red leg.
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