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Being mortal: illness, medicine and what matters in the end

Being mortal: illness, medicine and what matters in the end

Gawande, Atul, author; Wellcome Collection, associated with work

Atul Gawande examines his experiences as a surgeon, as he confronts the realities of ageing and dying in his patients and in his family, as well as the limits of what he can do. He emerges with a story that crosses the globe and history, exploring questions that range from the curious to the profound

Hardback, Book. English.
Published London: Profile Books, 2014

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Statement of responsibility: Atul Gawande
ISBN: 1846685818, 9781846685811
Note: Published in association with Wellcome Collection.
Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Physical Description: 282 pages ; 23 cm
Subject: Family and Relationships.; Mortality.

Author note

Atul Gawande is a surgeon, writer and public health researcher. He practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He is also Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health. He writes regularly for the New Yorker, and is the author of Better (9781861976574), Complications (9781846681325) and The Checklist Manifesto (9781846683145).

Atul Gawande is the 2014 Reith Lecturer. The 2014 Reith Lectures take the format of four lectures, this year on the subject of The Future of Medicine.


A deeply affecting, urgently important book -- one not just about dying and the limits of medicine, but about living to the last with autonomy, dignity and joy.||We have come to medicalize aging, frailty and death, treating them as if they were just one more medical problem to overcome. It is not just medicine that is needed in one's declining years, but life -a life with meaning, a life as rich and full as possible under the circumstances. Being Mortal is not only wise and deeply moving; it is an essential and insightful book for our times, as one would expect from Atul Gawande, one of our finest physician writers.||Medicine, Being Mortal reminds us, has prepared itself for life but not for death. This is Atul Gawande's most powerful, and moving, book||In this eloquent, moving book Atul Gawande ... explains how and why modern medicine has turned the end of life into something so horrible ... Many passages in "Being Mortal" will bring a lump to the throat, but Dr Gawande also visits places offering a better way to manage life's end
Economist||... it is rare to read a book that sparks so much hard thinking. In my case, it has opened to door to discussions with close relatives about how they wish to spend their final days - conversations that we should surely all be having, however difficult they are to start
Nature||Gawande is hoping to change the medical profession, not human nature, and to do so in a way that is important to us all. His book is so impressive that one can believe that it may well contribute to that end... May it be widely read and inwardly digested
Financial Times||Dr Gawande writes very well, his book Is deeply humane and I learnt much from it
Times||Atul Gawande's wise and courageous book raises the questions that none of us wants to think about...Gawande's concern and dedication shine from every page... that alliance of human feeling with medical knowledge aptly symbolises this remarkable book
Sunday Times||There is an extraordinary ethical tone to this book and it's a tone that increases and magnifies ... I was in floods of tears, it was so beautifully told. I think this is such an important book.... Everyone needs to read this book
Saturday Review BBC Radio 4||a book that everyone should read
Saturday Review BBC Radio 4||Beautifully written, humane, moving.
Saturday Review BBC Radio 4||an impassioned, broad-ranging and deeply personal exploration
Guardian||This humane and beautifully written book is a manifesto that could radically improve the lives of the aged and the terminally ill
Independent||it is to his tremendous credit that Gawande has turned his attention to mortality. We need people of such outstanding intelligence and compassion to consider the ever-growing problems associated with our ageing population.
Spectator||His latest book, written with is customary warmth and panache, is a plea to the medical profession and the rest of us to shift away from simply fighting for longer life towards fighting for the things that make life meaningful
Observer||inspirational and humane, essential reading.
Irish Times||a fascinating blend of memoir, research, philosophy and personal encounters with patients, he crafts precise, scalpel-sharp prose, creating a powerful narrative about end-of-life choices.
Sydney Morning Herald