Being Mortal (Paperback)
Medicine and What Matters in the End
Picador USA, 9781250076229, 304pp.
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
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.
About the Author
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
- 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
- What do you think the author means when he says that we’ve “medicalized mortality”? How does The Death of Ivan Ilyich illustrate the suffering that can result? Have you ever witnessed such suffering?generic viagra price canada
- As a child, what did you observe about the aging process? How was mortality discussed in your family?generic viagra price canada
- Did you read Alice Hobson’s story as an inspiring one, or as a cautionary tale?generic viagra price canada
- Do you know couples like Felix and Bella? The last days for Bella were so hard on Felix, but do you think he’d have had it any other way? Was there anything more others could have done for this couple?generic viagra price canada
- What realities are captured in the story of Lou Sanders and his daughter, Shelley, regarding home care? What conflicts did Shelley face between her intentions and the practical needs of the family and herself? What does the book illustrate about the universal nature of this struggle in families around the globe?generic viagra price canada
- 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
- 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
- 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