HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on…
Loading...

Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality (edition 2007)

by Pauline W. Chen

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3351332,882 (3.77)9
Member:crimson-tide
Title:Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality
Authors:Pauline W. Chen
Info:Knopf (2007), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:nonfiction, medicine, death, dying, memoir, surgery, wgs

Work details

Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality by Pauline W. Chen

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
This books shows the humanity of working in the medical profession. From the start of medical school to her current position, Pauline Chen, really helps express why the medical system is the way it is, those who try to correct it. The medical profession is made up of humans in a rigid, non perfect system. We as patients should provide assistance to nudge doctors who want to do the right thing to go ahead. And be a poke for those who do not want to bother. ( )
1 vote seki | Oct 17, 2011 |
This book did not help me with the feeling that Doctors Are Bad because they are vainglorious snots who are best avoided. I really understand the patient with advanced breast cancer who got no medical intervention until her breast was actually rotting away. I usually feel that whatever doctor I deal with is more interested in getting payment than in delivering care, more interested in getting out of the exam room than in answering questions, etc.

Granted, I am more prejudiced against doctors than most people: my family has three doctors, and every one of them is an awful person in one way or another. I once worked for a doctor who hated people in general and loved to torment her support staff in particular. (Thank God that one wasn't a surgeon. The thought of a knife in her hand still gives me the willies). My problem is mostly that these people really seem to feel their grand Doctorhood puts them on a level far. far above little me. These are the sort of person who can hear "Stop, I am not comfortable with this discussion," and say indignantly, "I am a Doctor, I will discuss whatever I wish." No, sometimes you are a family member who ought to know when to use some manners.

But enough about this reader's doctor dislike. I did not read this book carefully but rather in a feverish haze of illness. Why did I read a book I probably wouldn't like while I was sick? Because it was on top of the TBR pile and I liked the feeling of being able to cross it off my list. I admit I probably missed a lot.

I was struck by the amount of loving detail about the author's first cadaver, who was probably her most memorable patient. This part of the book was very touching. Especially when compared to the patient-avoidance techniques Dr. Chen developed later in her career.

Was the cadaver her favorite patient because it didn't talk back, and no difficult conversations had to occur on its behalf? Or is this a story about how the practice of modern medicine turns starry-eyed idealistic little People Helpers into dog-tired drones servicing the insurance industry more than the patient population?

Doctor Chen ended up saving her precious professional time by developing the back-out-of-the-room technique to cut off tiresome and tedious patient questions, and who figured that she could just skip all those difficult conversations with patients and families about death because somebody else would probably do it, so she wasn't really lying and she wasn't really shirking her responsibilities. Ugh. How horrible to feel that this woman paid more attention and gave better care to her first cadaver than to some of the sick people who ended up cluttering her busy schedule.

Why is it that doctors are in love with their mastery of technology, but avoid pain management? One would think that a terminal case could have all the drugs they wanted, but no. It is common to suffer moderate to severe pain at the end, because pain makes doctors uncomfortable. I think about that paradigm when I think that dying peacefully in the back yard will be much more dignified than going to hospital.
  KaterinaBead | Sep 12, 2011 |
Behind the glamour of surgery lies heartache for patients and surgeons.
  mdstarr | Sep 11, 2011 |
Death, Dying, Medicine, Non-Fiction ( )
  RickK | Jan 15, 2011 |
A fascinating look at how doctors deal with death and dying, from the first cadaver they dissect, to the patients that they are unable to save. Dr. Chen proposes that doctors need to take a more intimate and caring role in dealing with dying patients and their families. ( )
  apartmentcarpet | Aug 5, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
To my father and mother for the past,
To Natalie and Isabelle for the future, and to Woody for the here and now.
First words
My very first patient had been dead for over a year before I laid hands on her.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307263533, Hardcover)

A brilliant young transplant surgeon brings moral intensity and narrative drama to the most powerful and vexing questions of medicine and the human condition.

When Pauline Chen began medical school twenty years ago, she dreamed of saving lives. What she did not count on was how much death would be a part of her work. Almost immediately, Chen found herself wrestling with medicine’s most profound paradox, that a profession premised on caring for the ill also systematically depersonalizes dying. Final Exam follows Chen over the course of her education, training, and practice as she grapples at strikingly close range with the problem of mortality, and struggles to reconcile the lessons of her training with her innate knowledge of shared humanity, and to separate her ideas about healing from her fierce desire to cure.

From her first dissection of a cadaver in gross anatomy to the moment she first puts a scalpel to a living person; from the first time she witnesses someone flatlining in the emergency room to the first time she pronounces a patient dead, Chen is struck by her own mortal fears: there was a dying friend she could not call; a young patient’s tortured death she could not forget; even the sense of shared kinship with a corpse she could not cast aside when asked to saw its pelvis in two. Gradually, as she confronts the ways in which her fears have incapacitated her, she begins to reject what she has been taught about suppressing her feelings for her patients, and she begins to carve out a new role for herself as a physician and as human being. Chen’s transfixing and beautiful rumination on how doctors negotiate the ineluctable fact of death becomes, in the end, a brilliant questioning of how we should live.

Moving and provocative, motored equally by clinical expertise and extraordinary personal grace, this is a piercing and compassionate journey into the heart of a world that is hidden and yet touches all of our lives. A superb addition to the best medical literature of our time.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:49 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A brilliant young transplant surgeon brings moral intensity and narrative drama to the most powerful and vexing questions of medicine and the human condition. When Chen began medical school, she dreamed of saving lives--what she did not count on was how much death would be a part of her work. Almost immediately, Chen found herself wrestling with medicine's most profound paradox, that a profession premised on caring for the ill also systematically depersonalizes dying. Over the course of her education, training, and practice, she grappled at strikingly close range with the problem of mortality, struggling to reconcile the lessons of her training with her innate knowledge of shared humanity, and to separate her ideas about healing from her fierce desire to cure. Her rumination on how doctors negotiate the ineluctable fact of death becomes, in the end, a provocative questioning of how we should live.--From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
2 avail.
49 wanted
2 pay2 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.77)
0.5
1
1.5
2 4
2.5 1
3 18
3.5 4
4 27
4.5 3
5 12

Audible.com

An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 91,653,335 books! | Top bar: Always visible