Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End (Paperback)

Medicine and What Matters in the End

By Atul Gawande

Picador USA, 9781250076229, 304pp.

Publication Date: September 5, 2017

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Description

Named a Best Book of the Year by "The Washington Post," "The New York Times Book Review," NPR, "Chicago Tribune"

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.



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.


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  1. Why do we assume we will know how to empathize and comfort those in end-of-life stages? How prepared do you feel to do and say the right thing when that time comes for someone in your life?generic viagra price canada
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  7. The author writes, “It is not death that the very old tell me they fear. It is what happens short of death…” (55). What do you fear most about the end of life? How do you think your family would react if you told them, “I’m ready”? How do we strike a balance between fear and hope, while still confronting reality?generic viagra price canada
  8. Often medical treatments do not work. Yet our society seems to favor attempts to “fix” health problems, no matter the odds of their success. Dr. Gawande quotes statistics that show 25% of Medicare spending goes to the 5% of patients in the last stages of life. Why do you think it’s so difficult for doctors and/or families to refuse or curtail treatment? How should priorities be set?generic viagra price canada
  9. How was your reading affected by the book’s final scene, as Dr. Gawande fulfills his father’s wishes? How do tradition and spirituality influence your concept of what it means to be mortal?generic viagra price canada
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