i am not a doctor, nor do i wish to become one, but as the daughter of two doctors and the sister of an almost-one, i do have an interest in the medical community. many of our family dinners revolve around cases my parents have seen or ones that my brother has studied, so i have a basic working medical knowledge and love hearing about any weird things they come across.
my most recent read, atul gawande’s complications, looks at some of these weird cases as well as ones where doctors made small or sometimes life-altering decisions in the span of seconds and then had to live with the consequences. as a general surgeon, gawande has seen his share of crazy and weird cases, and he wrote this book toward the end of his general surgery residency in boston.
gawande weaves the cases and the medical background together into the stories presented in the book so that the reader can understand what is happening and experience some of the cases along with him. as much as we would like it to be, medicine is not black-and-white, and gawande tackles those gray areas that show up when complications arise.
complications was an interesting read, especially when gawande got to the weird cases that just couldn’t be explained with medicine. there were a few chapters that dragged a bit, but overall i found it to be a fast and engaging book, and i would like to read more of his works to see what other things he has experienced. i have found some of his essays engaging in the past, and i would be interested to read some of his more recent writings.
a word of warning: maybe don’t read while eating, as some of the surgical descriptions can get a little graphic. it’s great to help the reader know what is going on, but it might make you a bit queasy.
my goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 // average rating is 4.21
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