Being Mortal

Being Mortal

By Atul Gawande

  • Release Date : 2014-10-16
  • Genre : Science & Nature
  • FIle Size : 0.93 MB
Score: 4.5
From 24 Ratings
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Being Mortal Longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2014

In Being Mortal, Gawande examines his experiences as a surgeon, as he confronts the realities of aging and dying in his patients and in his family, as well as the limits of what he can do. And he emerges with story that crosses the globe and history, exploring questions that range from the curious to the profound: What happens to people's teeth as they get old? Did human beings really commit senecide, the sacrifice of the elderly? Why do the aged so dread nursing homes and hospitals? How should someone give another person the dreadful news that they will die?

This is a story told only as Atul Gawande can - penetrating people's lives and also the systems that have evolved to govern our mortality. Those systems, he observes, routinely fail to serve - or even acknowledge - people's needs and priorities beyond mere survival. And the consequences are devastating lives, families, and even whole economies. But, as he reveals, it doesn't have to be this way.

Atul Gawande has delivered an engrossing tale of science, history and remarkable characters in the vein of Oliver Sacks.

Published in partnership with the Wellcome Collection, a free visitor destination that explores the connections between medicine, life and art.

Atul Gawande will deliver this year's BBC Radio 4 Reith Lectures on the subject of The Future of Medicine.


  • Being mortal by Atul Gawande

    By Gooddrrob
    Quite simply the best book that I have read this year and perhaps one the most important ever. This should be recommended reading for all health professionals and essential reading medical students. Gawande's argument is that modern medicine has lost its way in the treatment of the elderly and those with incurable disease. From the premise that modern western society will not return to the culture of the extended family (and indeed he argues that this is already happening in urban culture in developing nations) he bemoans the way in which the elderly are cared for, with an emphasis on medical management and risk avoidance. He argues for an emphasis on wellbeing and considering the priorities of the elderly beyond extending life (if that is indeed what they want). He illustrates this with examples of supported living where the residents are able to make their own choices, even if they are considered unwise. He continues the argument against this relentlessly management of advanced incurable disease and argues for identifying what the priorities of the patient are. He presents data showing that those offered palliative treatment live longer than those given aggressive medical treatments such as third or fourth line chemotherapy and undoubtedly experience a greater quality of life in their last months and days. Gawande expresses eloquently what is intuitive to many, but apparently not to so many in the medical profession. If this book had been written by a palliative care physician it would have had a considerable impact, but as great as coming from a surgeon, who describes his own struggles with coming to reject the philosophy of prolonging life at all costs that has been that of his predecessors and peers. A must read.
  • Being Mortal,Atul Gawande

    By Nunquam
    I heard review on radio five live in the Uk. I am a 64 yo GP. This book is well written and probably should be read by all, including all Medics. We are all mortal. WH Auden, ‘yet time how ever loud its chimes and deep has never shaken the assurance of the rose , nor put the lion off its leap.'