A compassionate look at how the medical industry currently handles aging, terminal illness, and end-of-life issues. Often medical professionals ignore quality of life, or a person's overall well-being, in favor of more treatments. There are no easy answers, but our reluctance to address these issues has not helped us to make more informed choices. Recommended By Mary Jo S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, The New York Times Book Review, NPR, and Chicago Tribune, now in paperback with a new reading group guide.
Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming the dangers of childbirth, injury, and disease from harrowing to manageable. But when it comes to the inescapable realities of aging and death, what medicine can do often runs counter to what it should.
Through eye-opening research and gripping stories of his own patients and family, Gawande reveals the suffering this dynamic has produced. Nursing homes, devoted above all to safety, battle with residents over the food they are allowed to eat and the choices they are allowed to make. Doctors, uncomfortable discussing patients' anxieties about death, fall back on false hopes and treatments that are actually shortening lives instead of improving them.
In his bestselling books, Atul Gawande, a practicing surgeon, has fearlessly revealed the struggles of his profession. Now he examines its ultimate limitations and failures-in his own practices as well as others'-as life draws to a close. Riveting, honest, and humane, Being Mortal shows how the ultimate goal is not a good death but a good life-all the way to the very end.
"Beautifully crafted... Being Mortal is a clear-eyed, informative exploration of what growing old means in the 21st century... a book I cannot recommend highly enough. This should be mandatory reading for every American.... It provides a useful roadmap of what we can and should be doing to make the last years of life meaningful." Time.com
"American medicine, Being Mortal reminds us, has prepared itself for life but not for death. This is Atul Gawande's most powerful — and moving — book." Malcolm Gladwell
"Gawande's book is so impressive that one can believe that it may well [change the medical profession]... May it be widely read and inwardly digested." Diana Athill, Financial Times (UK)
"Being Mortal, Atul Gawande's masterful exploration of aging, death, and the medical profession's mishandling of both, is his best and most personal book yet." Boston Globe
"Beautifully written... In his newest and best book, Gawande has provided us with a moving and clear-eyed look at aging and death in our society, and at the harms we do in turning it into a medical problem, rather than a human one." The New York Review of Books
About the Author
Atul Gawande is author of three bestselling books: Complications, a finalist for the National Book Award; Better, and The Checklist Manifesto. His latest book is Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. He is also a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He has won the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science, a MacArthur Fellowship, and two National Magazine Awards. In his work in public health, he is Executive Director of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation, and chairman of Lifebox, a nonprofit organization making surgery safer globally. He and his wife have three children and live in Newton, Massachusetts.