Monday, November 15, 2010

Review: Complications

COMPLICATIONS by Atul Gawande is about surgery, written by a resident surgeon. It is also about how humans learn, make mistakes, learn more, make decisions, learn something new, make another mistake, learn about something else, and then, when things go right, make really good decisions that just maybe save another person's life.

This book is incredibly intense - especially the last story in the book, which made me nervous for days - but not too gory or graphic. I don't normally do well with anything that even has a whiff of gruesome about it, but I generally wasn't grossed out. (I will admit that I skipped one chapter, "The Dead Baby Mystery." I checked with my medical professional husband, who read this book years ago, if this chapter is really about a dead baby. It is, so I decided that in my present, about to be a new mom state, I didn't need to read that.)

Instead, I found COMPLICATIONS to be a fascinating look at something I'm not familiar with. It matters, of course, that Gawande is an excellent writer. It's not perfect, of course, but it is excellent.

Buy Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande on Amazon.


  1. Not one for me. I'm a little squeamish about medical details.

  2. I thought this was a really interest look at the healthcare industry, albeit in a fractured and personal-perspective driven way. Gawande's book, like Malcolm Gladwell's writing, suffers from a certain cutesy A + B = C dissonance that happens when you tack together several New Yorker essays, but his writing and unique approach to the subject are enough to really good. I tried to read his book Surgery, but the first essay starts off describing some surgery that made me feel light-headed, so I didn't keep going. That's good writing. Maybe too good!


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