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Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

By Atul Gawande

In Being Mortal, bestselling writer Atul Gawande tackles the toughest problem of his occupation: how medication cannot simply enhance existence but in addition the method of its ending

Medicine has triumphed nowa days, reworking beginning, damage, and infectious ailment from harrowing to achievable. yet within the inevitable of getting older and loss of life, the targets of drugs look too usually to run counter to the curiosity of the human spirit. Nursing houses, preoccupied with safeguard, pin sufferers into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the demise, checking for important symptoms lengthy after the targets of remedy became moot. medical professionals, devoted to extending existence, proceed to hold out devastating methods that during the top expand suffering.

Gawande, a training health practitioner, addresses his profession’s final hindrance, arguing that caliber of lifestyles is the specified target for sufferers and households. Gawande bargains examples of freer, extra socially pleasant types for supporting the infirm and based aged, and he explores the types of hospice care to illustrate person's final weeks or months should be wealthy and dignified.

Full of eye-opening learn and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medication can convenience and increase our event even to the tip, delivering not just a superb lifestyles but additionally a superb finish.

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Additional info for Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Sample text

Remember that for most of our hundred-thousand-year existence—all but the past couple of hundred years—the average life span of human beings has been thirty years or less. ) The natural course was to die before old age. Indeed, for most of history, death was a risk at every age of life and had no obvious connection with aging, at all. ” So today, with our average life span in much of the world climbing past eighty years, we are already oddities living well beyond our appointed time. When we study aging what we are trying to understand is not so much a natural process as an unnatural one.

They enter the hospital looking terrible, and some of what we do can make them look worse. But just when it looks like they’ve breathed their last, they rally. We make it possible for them to make it home—weaker and more impaired, though. They never return to their previous baseline. As illness progresses and organ damage worsens, a person becomes less able to withstand even minor problems. A simple cold can be fatal. The ultimate course is still downward until there finally comes a time when there is no recovery at all.

But just when it looks like they’ve breathed their last, they rally. We make it possible for them to make it home—weaker and more impaired, though. They never return to their previous baseline. As illness progresses and organ damage worsens, a person becomes less able to withstand even minor problems. A simple cold can be fatal. The ultimate course is still downward until there finally comes a time when there is no recovery at all. The trajectory that medical progress has made possible for many people, though, follows neither of these two patterns.

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