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Jul 12

Review: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Posted on July 12, 2017 at 9:56 AM by Elizabeth Land

Being Mortal by Atul GawandeIn Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Atul Gawande, a prominent surgeon, argues against modern medical practices that extend life at the expense of quality of life.
Gawande speaks honestly and compassionately about the reality everyone must face in their lives: Dying. Whether you are an aging person facing the end of their life, or a responsible family member who supports that person, most people find it impossible to talk about death.
What sets this title apart from other attacks on the medical system is Gawande's personal story of his own father's struggle with end-of-life decisions. While some might view the subject matter as dark, readers will find solace in the hope Gawande has that with a little effort from the medical establishment, everyone can find a peaceful way to reach their end of life. Gawande even outlines specific suggestions for ways to approach death through dignified and comfortable choices.
Gawande offers this guide for the future of terminal care in America: "our most cruel failure in how we treat the sick and the aged is the failure to recognize that they have priorities beyond merely being safe and living longer; that the chance to shape one's story is essential to sustaining meaning in life; that we have the opportunity to refashion our institutions, our culture, and our conversations in ways that transform the possibilities for the last chapters of everyone's lives." p. 243
This book is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to see a different way of facing the realities outlined by the author. You might have to wait to get a copy for yourself, but this easy-to-read and enlightening book is well worth the wait. Due to the widespread popularity of the book, Frontline even partnered with Gawande to create a documentary that focuses on the relationship between physician and patient during this difficult time of life.
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End is available from York County Public Library in the regular print, large print, Book on CD, and downloadable eBook formats. The Being Mortal documentary is available as a DVD. Visit the YCPL online catalog or call the library at 890-5100 to request your copy today.