Kelli's Reviews > Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science

Complications by Atul Gawande
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Jun 10, 2012

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Read in April, 2012

In Complications, Atul Gawande asks (and addresses) the question that few dare ask: if medical science is incomplete and our medical teams are made of fallible human beings how do we begin to address or foresee complications that may arise? Historically, doctors have held so much sway and authority that we didn't dare question them or their diagnosis — let alone consider how their judgment might be affected by external factors such as incomplete knowledge. Yet, in the last couple of decades the medical system has changed. Patients are required to understand the procedures they undergo and failure to do so constitutes a lack of informed consent. This development has placed an additional member on the medical team: the patient.
Gawande is mostly concerned with how one can anticipate and address complications that arise from the imperfect science of medicine. He explores a number of case studies and lays out the factors involved in an accessible manner. He follow-up books more explicitly consider how complications due to medical error can be addressed.

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