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Complications A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science

ISBN: 9780312421700 | 0312421702
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Picador
Pub. Date: 4/1/2003

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In gripping accounts of true cases, surgeon Atul Gawande explores the power and the limits of medicine, offering an unflinching view from the scalpel's edge. Complications lays bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is'”uncertain, perplexing, and profoundly human. Atul Gawande is a surgical resident at a hospital in Boston and a staff writer on medicine and science for The New Yorker . A graduate of Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, his writing has been selected to appear in The Best American Essays 2002 and The Best American Science Writing 2002 . National Book Award Finalist A New York Times Notable Book A Boston Globe Best Book An American Library Association Notable Book A Discover magazine Best Science Book Finalist for the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award Sometimes in medicine the only way to know what is truly going on in a patient is to operate, to look inside with one''s own eyes. This book is exploratory surgery on medicine itself, laying bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is'”complicated, perplexing, and profoundly human. Atul Gawande offers an unflinching view from the scalpel''s edge, where science is ambiguous, information is limited, the stakes are high, yet decisions must be made. In dramatic and revealing stories of patients and doctors, he explores how deadly mistakes occur, why good surgeons go bad. He shows what happens when medicine comes up against the inexplicable: an architect with incapacitating back pain for which there is no physical cause; a young woman with nausea that won''t go away; a television newscaster whose blushing is so severe that she cannot do her job. Gawande also ponders the human factor that makes saving lives possible. At once tough-minded and humane, Complications is a new kind of medical writing, nuanced and lucid, unafraid to confront the conflicts and uncertainties that lie at the heart of modern medicine, yet always alive to the possibilities of wisdom in this extraordinary endeavor. "None surpass Gawande in the ability to create a sense of immediacy, in his power to conjure the reality of the ward, the thrill of the moment-by-moment medical or surgical drama. Complications impresses for its truth and authenticity, virtues that it owes to its author being as much forceful writer as uncompromising character."'” The New York Times Book Review "Reading Complications we become aware of the emergence of a new medical voice, and a welcome one. Here we find clinical perception, a wide-ranging knowledge of the pertinent literature, and the precocious wisdom of a young physician confronting the realities of one of America''s leading hospitals. He writes with directness and lucidity'”and humility as well'”that lift the veil of obscurity and obfuscation behind which so many of the most far-reaching dilemmas of today''s medical care have been half-hidden. The writings of Atul Gawande convey the quiet assurance and tone of the doctor acting as both observer and participant. This is clinical watchfulness at its best [and Gawande] brings to modern high-tech medicine the same clinical watchfulness that writers such as [William Carlos] Williams and [Oliver] Sacks have brought to bear on the lives and emotions of often fragile patients . . . We get an honest sense of the complexities of twenty-first century healing."'” Sherwin B. Nuland, T he New York Review of Books "None surpass Gawande in the ability to create a sense of immediacy, in his power to conjure the reality of the ward, the thrill of the moment-by-moment medical or surgical drama. Complications impresses for its truth and authenticity, virtues that it owes to its author being as much forceful writer as uncompromising character."'” The New York Times Book Review "Gawande''s sharp eye, crisp prose, and insightful understanding make his book as enjoyable as it is edifying."'” Los Angeles Times "Gawande''s prose, much like the scalpel he wields, is precise,


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