Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Atul Gawande
Apr 8, 2015

In short, this book is about dying. Yes it is sad, but also eye opening in showing how doctors are poorly equipped to deal effectively with the natural process of dying and the limits of medicine. Dr. Gawande is a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital who also teaches at Harvard Medical School. In this insightful and worthwhile book, Dr. Gawande wonderfully tackles the question of whether the objective of medicine should be pure survival at any cost, including more pain and suffering, or about the quality of life and what it means to die with dignity and control. Gawande examines the shortcomings of nursing homes and care for the elderly and makes these decisions real by sharing stories of people he has met in preparing to write this book. He also includes the very personal story of his own father's demise.

Being Mortal asks us to confront death, life and values. These questions aren't always easy, but they're important. Everyone should read this book, as we will all be forced to participate in important decisions with an aging parent or loved one at some time in our lives, as well as be confronted with our own eventual passing.


Written by Library Staff