Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science

Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science

by Atul Gawande

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Overview

The international bestseller from the author of Being Mortal

In these gripping accounts of true cases, bestselling author Atul Gawande performs exploratory surgery on medicine itself, laying bare a science not in its idealised form, but as it actually is - complicated, perplexing and profoundly human.

This is a stunningly well-written account of the life of a surgeon: what it is like to cut into people's bodies and the terrifying - literally life and death - decisions that have to be made: operations that go wrong; of doctors who go to the bad; why autopsies are necessary; what it feels like to insert your knife into someone.

'Written as tautly as a thriller' Observer

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429972109
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 04/01/2003
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 91,154
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Atul Gawande is a staff member of Brigham and Women's Hospital, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and the New Yorker magazine. He is also Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Atul Gawande is the author of three previous bestselling books: Complications, a finalist for the National Book Award; Better, selected by Amazon.com as one of the ten best books of 2007; and The Checklist Manifesto. His current book, Being Mortal, was a New York Times Bestseller. He is also a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for the New Yorker, and a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He has won the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science, a MacArthur Fellowship, and two National Magazine Awards. In 2014, he delivered the BBC Reith Lectures. In his work in public health, he is director of Ariadne Labs, a joint centre for health system innovation, and chairman of Lifebox, a nonprofit organisation making surgery safer globally. He and his wife have three children and live in Newton, Massachusetts.

Hometown:

Newton, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

November 5, 1965

Place of Birth:

Brooklyn, New York

Education:

B.A.S., Stanford University, 1987; M.A., Oxford University, 1989; M.D., Harvard Medical School, 1995

Read an Excerpt


When you are in the operating room for the first time and see the surgeon press his scalpel to someone's body, you either shudder in horror or gape in awe. I gaped. It wasn't the blood and guts that enthralled me. It was the idea that a mere person would ever have the confidence to wield that scalpel. I wondered how the surgeon knew that all the steps would go as planned, that bleeding would be controlled and organs would not be injured. He didn't, but still he cut.

Later, I was allowed to make an incision myself. The surgeon drew a six-inch dotted line across the patient's abdomen and then, to my surprise, had the nurse hand me the knife. It was, I remember, still warm. I put the blade to the skin and cut. The experience was odd and addictive, mixing exhilaration, anxiety, a righteous faith that operating was somehow beneficial, and the slightly nauseating discovery that it took more force than I realized. The moment made me want to be a surgeon -- someone with the assurance to proceed as if cutting were routine.

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