Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science
4 journalers for this copy...
Hooray! I found this copy at the library book sale this past weekend!
I used my original copy for the non-fic swap, but the co-worker whom I lent it to (and who had a good track record of returning borrowed books) was let go unexpectedly, and I had not been able to get the book back. So I am really glad that I finally found this copy to send to HoserLauren.
Atul Gawande offers an unflinching view from the scalpel's edge, where science is ambiguous, information is limited, the stakes are high, yet decisions must be made. In dramatic and revealing stories of patients and doctors, he explores how deadly mistakes occur and why good surgeons go bad. He also shows us what happens when medicine comes up against the inexplicable: an architect with incapacitating back pain for which there is no physical cause; a young woman with nausea that won't go away; a television newscaster whose blushing is so severe that she cannot do her job. Gawande offers a richly detailed portrait of the people and the science, even as he tackles the paradoxes and imperfections inherent in caring for human lives.
I have to give this a 10 Star! The author's experience is interesting, at times funny and at times moving; he also did his homework and provided research data on the topic, resulting in a highly entertaining and educational book.
Some of the points that Gawande raise are alarming, but as you read through the reasoning behind them, you can understand them. For example, how do doctors get practice on new technologies or methodologies? They have to practice somewhere and you'd be surprised how little they get before their first patient is subjected to the new procedure.
The first third of the book had me captivated. It was kind of scary, yet very interesting. I found that the middle of the book dragged a bit but that things picked up again near the end.
How does a surgical resident really learn his trade? Why, on his first patient!! Scary, definitely!!. The patient does not have control over this but can only hope that it goes right. It does make sense but it is still very alarming.
Atul Gawande has been very courageous in writing a tell-all book about the deficiencies of the system. Moreover, it does correct the doctor as 'god' idea. Doctors do make mistakes, they do experience burn out and some just are bad doctors.
It was interesting that he mentioned a specialized hernia hospital here in Toronto. I did not know that it was so well known.
Some of the other conditions mentioned were also fascinating: blushing too much, back pain with no physical reason, SIDs.
One little warning: do not read this book if you are close to going into the hospital for a procedure.