Why I Protest
Trump, Purity, & Disgust

Being Mortal

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the EndBeing Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been intending to read this book for a while and was finally compelled to when the church's book club picked it as its January read. I wish I had read it earlier. As someone who often intersects with families while they are making end-of-life and treatment decisions, I resonate with much of what Gawande writes in way of criticism of the current medical profession and advice for how to do things better. I am also very drawn to the questions he has learned to use with patients. I will likely print those questions off and keep them in my wallet to use when I'm having those conversations with families.

The book also aroused my never fully dispelled anger over my Grandfather's final years.

The one thing lacking in the book is the role of faith communities. Gawande himself is not religious, as he admits, but I was surprised that in none of his stories was a rabbi, priest, minister, imam, etc. involved in the conversations with families. In my experience religious families usually have the informational conversations with physicians and the values and priorities conversations with faith leaders.

Also, similarly, was missing any history of medicine. The more corporate and fix-it model of medicine he criticizes was an historical aberration, for even in my lifetime hospitals were predominately religious-based non-profits. And the history of hospitals is largely a history of religious orders and denominations. Under that historical model overall well-being was part of the healing endeavor. So, what he is encouraging is a return to an older model.

I do think EVERYONE should read this book.

View all my reviews


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