By Atul Gawande

In Being Mortal, bestselling writer Atul Gawande tackles the toughest problem of his career: how medication cannot simply enhance lifestyles but in addition the method of its ending

Medicine has triumphed nowa days, remodeling start, damage, and infectious disorder from harrowing to doable. yet within the inevitable situation of getting older and loss of life, the targets of drugs look too usually to run counter to the curiosity of the human spirit. Nursing houses, preoccupied with defense, pin sufferers into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the loss of life, checking for very important indicators lengthy after the ambitions of therapy became moot. medical professionals, dedicated to extending existence, proceed to hold out devastating tactics that during the tip expand suffering.

Gawande, a working towards doctor, addresses his profession’s final obstacle, arguing that caliber of existence is the specified aim for sufferers and households. Gawande deals examples of freer, extra socially gratifying versions for supporting the infirm and established aged, and he explores the different types of hospice care to illustrate person's final weeks or months might be wealthy and dignified.

Full of eye-opening study and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that drugs can convenience and improve our event even to the top, offering not just a superb existence but in addition a very good finish.

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Extra info for Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Example text

Here he was in the hospital, partially paralyzed from a cancer that had spread throughout his body. The chances that he could return to anything like the life he had even a few weeks earlier were zero. But admitting this and helping him cope with it seemed beyond us. We offered no acknowledgment or comfort or guidance. We just had another treatment he could undergo. Maybe something very good would result. We did little better than Ivan Ilyich’s primitive nineteenth-century doctors—worse, actually, given the new forms of physical torture we’d inflicted on our patient.

She never tried to disguise her age. Her undyed white hair was brushed straight and parted on one side, Bette Davis–style. Her hands were speckled with age spots, and her skin was crinkled. She wore simple, neatly pressed blouses and dresses, a bit of lipstick, and heels long past when others would have considered it advisable. As I came to learn over the years—for I would eventually marry Kathleen—Alice grew up in a rural Pennsylvania town known for its flower and mushroom farms. Her father was a flower farmer, growing carnations, marigolds, and dahlias, in acres of greenhouses.

If your problem is fixable, we know just what to do. But if it’s not? The fact that we have had no adequate answers to this question is troubling and has caused callousness, inhumanity, and extraordinary suffering. This experiment of making mortality a medical experience is just decades old. It is young. And the evidence is it is failing. * * * THIS IS A book about the modern experience of mortality—about what it’s like to be creatures who age and die, how medicine has changed the experience and how it hasn’t, where our ideas about how to deal with our finitude have got the reality wrong.

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