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Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
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October 2017: Society > Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande - 5 stars

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annapi | 5068 comments This book should be required reading for all medical personnel - actually, I think everyone should read it. It deals with a topic that too many people avoid - death and how to die. Gawande makes us face our mortality and reminds us that death is a normal part of life, and one that should be faced with dignity and courage. He rightfully criticizes his own medical profession for avoiding the topic of inevitable death with terminal patients, and in doing so setting them on a path to a painful one, not just for themselves but also for their families. Using the stories of some of his patients, as well as that of his own father, he shows us that there is a better way to deal with the problems of the waning days of our lives. Hopefully by the time I have to deal with this for myself, there will be more of the options Gawande is describing, not just for our generation but our children's as well. It's a societal change that is sorely needed.


message 2: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (tstan) | 1207 comments I've worked with Hospice as pharmacist advisor in the past, and I've heard very good things about this.
On to the TBR it goes!


Nicole | 430 comments Fantastic book! I love seeing people pick this one up, it's such an important topic and the author handles it well.


message 4: by Book Concierge (last edited Oct 05, 2017 04:51AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5999 comments Wonderful book. So glad you read it. Now .... go have a conversation with your doctor(s).

I had to find a new primary care physician this summer, and you can bet that I had a conversation about end=of=life issues with her before signing on. I'm in good health, but you never know ... could be hit by a truck, or diagnosed with cancer, or struck by a stray bullet on the freeway tomorrow .... best to have the conversation BEFORE you "need" it. (And I'm not being trite about the stray bullet ... there have been two random shootings on Milwaukee's freeways in the last two weeks.)


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Jgrace | 2938 comments I only wish I could find a primary care doctor that I could have a conversation with. I've already tried two and rejected them. I'm also in good health so maybe I'm just not interesting (or lucrative enough). One of them was checking off boxes on my health history before she asked the questions. The other spent most of my time with her talking about how she wanted to try a different career. (There's the added complication that I don't want to see someone who was a former student or who has a former student working in the office. ;)


Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5999 comments Jgrace wrote: "(There's the added complication that I don't want to see someone who was a former student or who has a former student working in the office. ;) .."

How can you find a doctor who was never a student? ... or do you mean you don't want a doctor / or staff person who was YOUR former student? If you are in a smaller community this could definitely be a challenge.


message 7: by Jgrace (new) - added it

Jgrace | 2938 comments Book Concierge wrote: "Jgrace wrote: "(There's the added complication that I don't want to see someone who was a former student or who has a former student working in the office. ;) .."

How can you find a doctor who was..."

Yes, One of my former students. Considering that I taught early primary, it's confronting to even know that they are old enough! I was being facetious, I only know of two who have gone to medical school and they don't practice in my community. Nurses and office staff are a far different story. Most of the time it's fun and friendly.


message 8: by Karin (new)

Karin | 7197 comments Interesting topic. I will add that my dad, a retired surgeon and, quite frankly, not always the most sensitive person on the planet, did learn and practise one thing for many years. He said that if he operated on someone with cancer, etc, and it was clearly terminal (he's 84, so he practised for many years before cancer therapy got to the improved level it is currently at, even if it's nowhere near where we'd like to go) he did this. He would tell his patients the prognosis when the first woke up after surgery, at that point where they are going to lose consciousness again and not remember anything they are told, because it was emotionally easier for them to accept when they were fully conscious and had to be told. Knowing my dad, I suspect that it was to make it easier for both the patient. He was not uncaring, but obviously isn't wired to be a psychologist.


Anita Pomerantz | 6543 comments Jgrace wrote: "I only wish I could find a primary care doctor that I could have a conversation with. I've already tried two and rejected them. I'm also in good health so maybe I'm just not interesting (or lucrati..."

My husband is a doctor (not primary care), and all I can say is that it is really hard to find a good internist who is taking new patients. My first one here in Baltimore wouldn't write a script for a mammogram. I'm sorry, but a mammogram is part of women's preventative health maintenance; seeing a gynecologist is not a requirement to obtain one. As it turned out, it was actually her office staff that was oddly misinformed, and ultimately I got referred . . .but it was a giant hassle, and my husband actually had to call the practice manager. Well, not everyone has a husband who can/will do that. Now I drive a long way to see someone affiliated with my husband's hospital . . .

At any rate, back to the book, I think this is an incredibly important book that really everyone who is aging or who has elderly parents should read. And normally, I'm not so passionate about everyone reading a particular book, but this one is really exceptional.


LibraryCin | 8617 comments Anita wrote: "My first one here in Baltimore wouldn't write a script for a mammogram. I'm sorry, but a mammogram is part of women's preventative health maintenancet..."

Wow! That's crazy... :-(


Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2275 comments Fantastic book, so eye-opening for me. I have made a recommendation to my mother's doctor and she's read the book. That makes me happy, Mom is a very healthy 90 year old but has had cancer and heart by-pass with wonderful recovery but now I know what to do if/when she starts to face that end-of-life period. Now I need to talk to my doctor. I've seriously considered buying a copy of the book for each doctor I see!


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