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: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science is a nonfiction book collection of essays written by the American surgeon Atul Gawande. Gawande. Atul Gawande’s training began with a bullet wound and ended with a flesh-eating He reports back from the medical front line in Complications.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Complications by Atul Gawande. 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. Paperbackpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Complicationsplease sign up. Any comments about this book, Anna? There’s a student in my MFA course who’s a surgeon.
She writes wonderfully funny black humour essays about what goes on behind the scenes in the medical profession. See 1 question about Complications…. Lists with This Book. Nov 12, Patricia rated it it was amazing Shelves: A year or more ago, I mistakenly placed a review for Gawande’s book Better under this title. I have fixed the mix up, and I have now read Complications.
Gawande is pure pleasure to read. His writing is fluid and full of germane examples as he addresses big issues like error and incompetence as well as topics that seem less significant but which he makes worthy of consideration such as blushing and nausea.
The headings for each section of the book–Fallibility, Mystery, and Uncertainty–are themat A year or more ago, I mistakenly placed a review for Gawande’s book Better under this title. The headings for each section of the book–Fallibility, Mystery, and Uncertainty–are thematic in the text.
As one reviewer wrote, “Thank heaven someone wrote this book. What I really appreciate is that in Betterwhich he wrote after Complicationshe gives equal time to discussing ways in which medicine can improve. A good writer and a good doc. What more could I ask for? View all 3 comments. Feb 04, Ben Pederson rated it did not like it Shelves: This book wss filled with about 25 anecdotes flimsily tied together by Gawande’s less than inspiring reflections.
Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science – Atul Gawande – Google Books
I have the book in front of me at the moment and I am paging through rereading sections that I noted along the gawane I had thought that meant simply learning the repertoire of move and techniques involved in doing an operation or making a diagnosis.
In fact, there was also the new and delicate matter of talking patients through t This book wss filled with about 25 anecdotes flimsily tied together by Gawande’s less than inspiring reflections.
In fact, there was also the new and delicate matter of talking patients through their decisions – something that sometimes entailed its own repertoire of moves and techniques.
However, given the audience of this book everyone he does well to treat people about how uncertain medicine really is and how it really comes down to the tricky nature of making decisions and how they should be made in the medical setting: We want a rule.
And so we’ve decided that the patients should be the ultimate arbiter. But such hard and fast rule seems ill-suited both to a caring relationships between docotr and patient and to the reality of medical care, where a hunderred decisions have to be made quickly The doctor should not make all of these decisions, and neither should the patient.
Something must be worked out between then, one on one – a personal modus operandi. Where many ethicits go wrong is in promoting patient autonomy as a kind of ultimate value in medicine rather than recognizing it as one value among others A s the field grows ever more complex and technological, the real task isn’t to banish paternalism; the real task is to preserve kindness.
The best part of the book is the last two paragraphs and is all you really need to read have said that you have read the book, in my opinion. What we are drawn to in this imperfect science, what we in fact covet in our way, is the alterable moment- the fragile but crystalline opportunity for one’s know-how, ability, or just gut instinct to change the course of another’s life for the better.
In the actual situations that present themselves, however, [ Even less clear is whether the actions we choose will prove either wise or helpful.
Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science
That our efforts succeed at all is still sometimes a chock to me. Not always, but often enough. There is so much talk about the fallibility and humanity in medicine right now However, as is apparent in this book, the medical community is only at the stage of recognizing this fallibility.
Gawande doesn’t do what I thought he would: He really doesn’t have any good ideas. In all his articles, he seems to be advocating a technocratic answer using checklists etc. The biggest problem I have with the book is the way Gawande seems to view the profession medical community of independently-acting people, who, in the aggregate, are not too of an impressive lot.
In this, Gawande is entirely old-school. He fails to recognize the possibility of alternative ways to approach patient care. In a way, I think that he is dangerously anecdotal.
Maybe it is just me being tired of reading anecdotal medical non-fiction, but it just seems like a lame format don’t hold these words against me because I really don’t know what I am looking for, or what type of book I would write. He treats them like data points. However, I believe there to be value within this book. I am really really happy that millions of people future patients are reading books like this and Groopman’s “How doctor’s think” as it really does educate them to get real about what medical care is all about.
It will serve to empower people and get them involved in their care and think about how they want it to go down. But, to me, I really did expect a lot more from this guy.
The reviews that it got are ridiculous, they are way over the top! It is pretty incredible- it goes to show how easy it is to be heard once you have written for the New Yorker and got a MD from Havard.
A surgeon opens his heart (well, almost)
I will keep reading his books, though, for no other reason than that he is so hot right now, millions are reading him. I at least have to know other people are thinking about.
View all 6 comments. Oct 24, Elizabeth rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Gawande divides his stories into three sections: The fallibility section demonstrates that doctors can make mistakes.
Some fallibility arises from there being a learning curve. For example, it is hard to do a central line correctly the first time. But for a doctor to learn how to do gawandee central line, he must have a first patient to try it on. The concern then arises as to which patients receive care from the inexperienced versus the experienced.
Yet fallibility occurs in even the most experienced doctors.
Gawande reports on one doctor who became so careless that he was no longer allowed to practice. The frightening part of that story is how long his colleagues let him continue when they had concerns.
The Doctor also brings up this issue.
It is understandable that doctors are reluctant to come down too hard on their colleagues. They need each other as a support system and thus need to maintain trusting relationships.
Furthermore, medicine is uncertain, and it can take a long time to see a pattern of truly irresponsible behavior as opposed to just having taul complicated cases. Gawande makes the point that discipline of doctors works best when it done by a group outside the doctors peer group or employer because it is more objective. Then this outside group can propose a plan of action which the employer can implement. Unfortunately, this model has been too expensive to be much of a viable option.
The mystery section details stories of conditions that cannot be explained by current medical science, like blushing, pain, and nausea. Ocmplication each of these cases, the doctors could not explain why the patient had the condition.
Much of the time, the patient just wanted the doctors to believe them even though there did not seem to be a physiological domplication of the problem. It is interesting that the patient is more willing to accept that there is no medical explanation than the doctors.
Yet the doctors are the ones with the training and have probably complcation many more circumstances when they cannot make a diagnosis. The uncertainty section deals with how to make the right diagnosis or judgment. Gwwande are several points in this section that have come up in the other gawandde reviewed for this independent study.
First is the declining use of the autopsy. The autopsy is how doctors can determine what was actually wrong with the patient. It is the final way to get rid of uncertainty. Its purpose is to help the doctors recognize such conditions in the future. Yet autopsies are done less and less.