Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science

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Profile Books, Jul 9, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 282 pages

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

 

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Gawande is a skilled storyteller and surgeon with razor sharp wit and strong steady hand. " Outer facia layer was grey, dead and streptococcus A toxic" (in his mention of 23 year old girl in the Operating Room).
When a surgeon murmurs a expletive rich epithet after confirming a patient came in with necrotizing fasciitis---which is a complex reference to a particularly nefarious flesh-eating bacteria---confirming it's potentially lethal or in this case amputation is not an option.
Truly riveting and a must read for the curious, medical student or investigative medical journalist. Learned "to describe one case is to describe them all" as surgeons are machine-like with an insignificant error margin and thus perform consistently despite any external pressure. Many lessons within, wisdom rich and educates lightly, buy it!
 

Contents

Authors Note
1
The Computer and the Hernia Factory
35
Nine Thousand Surgeons
75
When Good Doctors Go Bad
88
PartIIMystery
109
A Queasy Feeling
130
Crimson Tide
146
The Man Who Couldnt Stop Eating
162
PartIIIUncertainty
187
The Dead Baby Mystery
202
The Case of the Red Leg
228
Notes on Sources
253
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

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.

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