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Gawande has appropriate modesty -- not offering a solution but ideas on how to do better.
This book was gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. Should be mandatory reading whence someone turns 25. Yes, only 25! It's so important to have a strong grasp on the precariousness of life here on Earth.
I read this book two years after my husband's death. The moral of this story is that people who provide medical treatment must converse with their patients. When there is a diagnosis tell them. If there is a prognosis discuss it with them. When an error is made in their treatment tell them the truth. And most of all treat them with respect.
Good for all to read and understand the importance of listening, never judging, and respecting the life decisions of our elders both family, and friends.
Some of us give thought to what it means to truly live, but few of us to how we prefer our lives to end. In fact, the subject is so taboo that even medical professionals avoid it, leading to decisions that dramatically decrease the quality of life during inevitable final days.
With characteristic honesty and humility, Gawande twines data, history, and anecdotes (both professional and personal) to encourage us to think about what really matters, what we most want to do, what living fully means when you know you have limited days. (As we all do.)
Calling all Baby Boomers and their children! This book is such an important one to read.
I have a confession. When I got to page 30, I considered not finishing it. I felt like it was one of the most depressing things I'd ever read, although probably a large part of that is due to the fact that I'm now considered to be *cough, cough* elderly. Knowing this book made the best-seller list I chose to go back and finish it.
How do we have a conversation about our care and well-being? I can tell you that I am absolutely going to do so! My husband and I want the same things (and we know that) but we need to let our son know, too. It would be beyond selfish to put those huge decisions on his shoulders.
Being Mortal concerns nursing homes - both the reeeally bad ones, as well as the wonderful improvements taking place in the good ones. It explains how we can age with self-respect and (hopefully) die with grace, by choosing palliative care. No more simply fighting for longer life and, instead, fighting for the things that make life meaningful.
PS. I've got my advanced directive next to me and I'm filling it out TODAY.
Gawande describes how the medical system has failed those in the final stages of life by using extreme measures to keep people alive regardless of the quality of the life they may be experiencing. He advocates an approach whereby those at the end of existence face their mortality, decide how best to spend the last stretch of time, seek comfort through hospice assistance and spend the remaining time with loved ones rather than in intubation in a sterile hospital. Where this more humane approach is practiced, people die more peacefully, families are less traumatized and the end of life costs to both families and the medical system are halved. This book should be required reading
My wife recommended this to me. From the title it sounded like another how-to book, a list of things to deal with regarding death and aging. How wrong my assumption!
It is a moving, narrative exploration of several issues surrounding death and aging in current American society. Each chapter looks at a different aspect but does so from the point of view of those affected by the topic, from elder care to end of life directives to hospice.
The epilogue is deeply personal and perfectly caps a very moving and informative book.
I listened to this in eAudio - it was well narrated. The content was difficult to take in, but worth the listen.
It's a book I hesitate to recommend, as I know it is difficult content to process, but I do feel it is well worth it when considering future options and making sure our loved ones are able to have good quality, meaningful life in their later years or last days.
Everyone should read this book. It provides an eye-opening look into the how the medical profession and informed family members can improve the quality of life for their aging or ill loved ones.
Insightful and informative look at the business of aging and medical interventions, and how it can and should be reformed. I was already familiar with some of the innovations and services as well as the need for reform, but was grateful for the candid and thoughtful review in this book. Must read for anyone entering any health profession. I required my students to listen to Dr. Gawande's interview on NPR, but wish I had read the book earlier, as I would have made it required reading in my courses.
Insightful, inspiring and highly useful perspective about how the current system of care for elders and the terminally ill evolved in housing and medicine: retirement communities and assisted living, gerontology and hospice. Great storytelling illuminates why the system is mostly dehumanizing, but sometimes asking the right questions, and prioritizing *living* over safety can lead to better quality of life and medical outcomes.
This book should be a must read for every physician practicing medicine. Focus needs to change to the wishes of the patient, not the interest in pills and surgeries. Some of us do not wish to be saved! Rather, a natural death is desired. The author recognizes this and closes his book with these thoughts of concern after his review of different lives.
Gawande presents a compelling case against the treatment-at-any-cost philosophy of medicine. In our quest to prolong life, we do not adequately address age-related frailty, and utterly fail to help patients mentally prepare for death.
Borrowed from Margo DeMoor. It was discussed at their joint book club meeting last year. Very well-written and right-on. He addressed end-of-life issues and the need for good quality of life rather than lengthened life, the move to change the face of care for the elderly. Shows how nursing homes have it all wrong.
If you are older then 50 and you have elderly parents this book is very good to start asking the necessary questions of those age groups. Very well written with not just a good amount of research behind it but a great intellect and heart.
"Being Mortal" examines quality of life as the primary goal in managing end of life decisions and is an accessible look at many of the ways our current approach sacrifices that goal in order to extend life at all costs. This is a terrific read for book groups, as the issues raised are profound, universal and ultimately personal.
This book was a moving and informative assessment on the state of care in our hospitals and nursing homes. This is a must read for people of any age to better care for our families and ourselves and to advocate for change in the medical community.
This book will put you into a thoughtful, melancholy (let's face it - depressed) mood, but it is a necessary book that discusses important things that we all must consider. It addressed the role of the Medical community in cases where someone is near the end of their life. Large sections of the book focus on quality of life for seniors but it also addresses those that have terminal illness. It will give you a pit in your stomach and maybe even a tear to your eye but it sure will make you consider the quality of life you want for yourself or your loved ones and will allow you to see things from another angle.
Gawande has started a conversation most Americans actively try to avoid, but the real gift of this book is being able to continue the conversation with others. Gawande provides information, giving readers a behind the scenes look into the minds of medical practitioners and the medical system. He then shares case studies, examples from people be has met and worked with and how they've gone about these difficult conversations, before sharing from his own first hand experience. There is no formula for talking about death and what matters in the end, but it is important to talk about. Gawande is vulnerable and honest, inviting the reader into this intimate conversation. Everyone can benefit from this book, as it will help deepen relationships by getting through the difficult conversations. For most readers, myself included, this would be a book chosen due to circumstances, but I hope it becomes a staple for everyone.
Perhaps the topic of the book is of concern to many people. But to me it seemed that the author have limited to give examples from the lives of sick elderly patients that he met during his career , including members of his own family. He's asking rhetorical question over and over-what should be change in a medical approach to treat those who are dying. But he himself doesn't have an answer-how to do that.
Everyone should read this book. We need to open up the conversations about death and dying and this book is a great starting off point.
Difficult subject matter? Check.
Important and informative? Check.
An essential read for every mortal being? Check.
i want to be in line to read this updated edition as a large print book. currently cpl shows my "hold" request as cancelled.
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