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

Complications by Atul Gawande
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's review
Sep 01, 2012

it was amazing
Read in August, 2012

My brother-in-law recommended this book and I definitely enjoyed it. It's kind of a tough book to describe because it covers a variety of issues, but basically Gawande carries on a discussion, complete with lots of awesome stories to illustrate his points, of how we want medicine to be easy and cut-and-dried, but there are so many issues that leak into the grey zone. He talks about strange medical issues people have and how we try (and sometimes fail) to fix them-- stuff like blushing, to overeating, to nausea. He talks about the mistakes doctors make and how they try to stop those mistakes. And he talks about who should be making the decisions, the doctor or the patient, and why this is such a complicated issue. Gawande, a surgeon himself, walks a very fine balance of being a very confident surgeon (as I'm pretty sure all surgeons have to be) and being totally aware of the fallacies of his profession. His voice is essential to making this book work. If you liked the TV show ER and/or if you've given a lot of thought to just how much you should blindly follow your doctor's orders vs. how much you should be doing your own research and making your own decisions (in my case, this has become an issue with birth and labor), then this is definitely a book you'll enjoy!

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