Complications: A Surgeons Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul GawandeA year or more ago, I mistakenly placed a review for Gawandes 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 thematic in the text. As one reviewer wrote, Thank heaven someone wrote this book. Gawande is unapologetic and totally direct in his appraisal of medicine. What I really appreciate is that in Better, which he wrote after Complications, he gives equal time to discussing ways in which medicine can improve.
Im a fan. A good writer and a good doc. What more could I ask for?
Complications (by Atul Gawande) - Book REVIEW
Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science
All the articles on this blog are based on peer-reviewed research and written from primary papers, not press releases or news stories. Science is very much a work in progress, where unanswered questions are accepted and experimentation is encouraged. But in medicine, where lives are at stake, things are very different. We look for doctors and surgeons to be faultlessly skilled and well-informed, and for medicine to be a field of order, knowledge and procedure. In Complications, American surgeon Atul Gawande tells us otherwise. The books begins with a tour through an ethical minefield as Gawande considers why mistakes happen in medicine and how we should balance the quest for the best possible care with the need to train the next generation of doctors. New techniques carry steep learning curves, and while doctors improve greatly with practice, that is scant consolation to first patients they treat.
Genre: Collection Essays. This masterful collection of essays was written by Gawande while he was a general surgery resident. The book consists of fourteen essays divided into three sections: Fallibility, Mystery, and Uncertainty. Nevertheless, the many pleasures of the individual essays, the range of topics explored in depth, and the accuracy of the medicine portrayed are the true strengths of this work. Because even when the truths are hard--the terrible acknowledgment by the medical neophyte about lack of skill and knowledge, the mistakes in judgment at all levels of doctoring, the nature of power relations and their effects on medical pedagogy and on the doctor-patient relationship, the gnawing uncertainties about so many medical decisions--the author confronts the issues head on with refreshing rigor, grace and honesty. Many of the essays reference scientific and medical research historical and current as part of the exploration of the topic. This information is imbedded within the essay, hence avoiding a dry recitation of statistical evidence.
Gawande wrote this during his general surgery residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital and was published in by Picador. Although the amount of time Gawande would spend working made it more difficult to complete his writing projects, this large workload allowed him to be exposed to more experiences. In the writing of Complications, Gawande attempts to elucidate medicine. In many of the essays included in the book, in particular When Doctors Make Mistakes and Education of a Knife, demonstrate many of the mistakes physicians may make when treating their patients. In these two essays, Gawande discusses his own struggles inserting a central venous catheter and performing an emergency tracheotomy that nearly results in the death of the patient.
Book Report! Complications by Atul Gawande
Atul Gawande, a surgical resident. Gawande describes his experiences in the field, in learning and interpreting medical mysteries and facing uncertainties, and the philosophical questions he encounters from these experiences. In "Complications," Gawande lays out several ways in which medicine is imperfect and will continue to be imperfect. In Part I "How We Learn," Gawande discusses that medicine will always be prone to errors so long as it is performed by humans. Humans are not perfect, but striving to be perfect requires practice and learning. Learning, in turn, demands that mistakes be made. Gawande talks about his first surgical procedure and how his failed attempts improved each time before he was successful.
The availability of items requested from other libraries may depend on the policies of the other libraries. 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. When you are in the operating room for the first time and see the surgeon press his scalpel to someone's body, you either shudder in horror or gape in awe. I gaped.