In "Being Mortal," bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending
Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.
Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person's last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.
Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, "Being Mortal" asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.
About the Author
Atul Gawande is author of three bestselling books: "Complications", a finalist for the National Book Award; "Better", selected by Amazon.com as one of the ten best books of 2007; and "The Checklist Manifesto". His latest book is "Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End". He is also a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for "The New Yorker", and a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He has won the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science, a MacArthur Fellowship, and two National Magazine Awards. In his work in public health, he is Executive Director of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation, and chairman of Lifebox, a nonprofit organization making surgery safer globally. He and his wife have three children and live in Newton, Massachusetts.
Robert Petkoff has won multiple "AudioFile "Earphones awards for his acclaimed narrations. He was named Best Voice of Fiction & Classics for his reading of "The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore" by Benjamin Hale. His other narration credits include "Oath of Office" by Michael Palmer, "Gangster Squad "by Paul Lieberman, and books by David Foster Wallace.Petkoff has appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in theaters across America and Europe. He has worked in television and film. His theater credits include Lord Evelyn Oakleigh in the Broadway production of "Anything Goes", Perchik as part of the Tony-nomianted cast of "Fiddler on the Roof", and Hubert Humphrey in the Tony award-winning play "All the Way." He has also had numerous roles in television on shows such as "Law and Order" and "Married with Children."