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Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an…
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Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science (original 2002; edition 2003)

by Atul Gawande

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2,697794,045 (4.11)123
A brilliant and courageous doctor reveals, in gripping accounts of true cases, the power and limits of modern medicine. Sometimes in medicine the only way to know what is truly going on in a patient is to operate, to look inside with one's own eyes. This book is exploratory surgery on medicine itself, laying bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is -- complicated, perplexing, and profoundly human. 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. At once tough-minded and humane, Complications is a new kind of medical writing, nuanced and lucid, unafraid to confront the conflicts and uncertainties that lie at the heart of modern medicine, yet always alive to the possibilities of wisdom in this extraordinary endeavor.… (more)
Member:FallenPegasus
Title:Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science
Authors:Atul Gawande
Info:Picador (2003), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:loan:bethieee, medicine, non-fiction, essays, biography, science

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Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande (2002)

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English (78)  Dutch (1)  All languages (79)
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
The stories and insights Gawande shares made me feel better about making mistakes while learning and about dealing with uncertainty. ( )
  MysteryTea | Jun 14, 2021 |
Atul Gawande is a surgeon with a philosopher's heart. He thinks deeply and critically about his profession and the humanity which he serves. His writing always leaves me encouraged about the state of medicine. ( )
  tangledthread | May 11, 2021 |
He is a really good writer and a compassionate, self-aware, doctor. I want to read more of his books now. ( )
  FurbyKirby | Jan 5, 2021 |
A surgeon's journal, Complications is riveting, frightening, and fascinating. Dr. Gawande is honest, more so than perhaps he should be, but it makes for fascinating reading.

The premise of the book is that medicine is far less the science patients suppose it to be. While surgeons are highly trained, a disturbing amount of intuition and guesswork is involved. And newbie cutters have to learn on someone, and those patients usually aren't informed of the fact they'll be a surgeon's first solo patient. And if this deception didn't occur, there would simply be no new surgeons trained.

The three sections of the book are titled Fallibility, Mystery, and Uncertainty. I'm hoping even more than before I read this that I never need to worry about any of this first-hand. ( )
  neilneil | Dec 7, 2020 |
The necrotizing fasciiitis case was a great ending. ( )
1 vote nicdevera | Oct 1, 2020 |
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I was once on trauma duty when a young man about twenty was rolled in, shot in the buttock.
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As one surgeon told me, it is a rare but alarming thing to meet a surgeon without fear. "If you're not a little afraid when you operate," he said, "you're bound to do a patient a grave disservice."
Normally, people boarding a bus, plane, or train distribute themselves like repelling magnets, keeping a respectful, anonymous distance from one another and sharing seats only if they have to.
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A brilliant and courageous doctor reveals, in gripping accounts of true cases, the power and limits of modern medicine. Sometimes in medicine the only way to know what is truly going on in a patient is to operate, to look inside with one's own eyes. This book is exploratory surgery on medicine itself, laying bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is -- complicated, perplexing, and profoundly human. 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. At once tough-minded and humane, Complications is a new kind of medical writing, nuanced and lucid, unafraid to confront the conflicts and uncertainties that lie at the heart of modern medicine, yet always alive to the possibilities of wisdom in this extraordinary endeavor.

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