Being Mortal – Atul Gawande Book Review

Not usually one to read a lot of non-fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed this. Knowing that one of my favourite reads last year was When Breath Becomes Air (by Paul Kalanithi), my brother recommended this to me, and all I can say is YES. Yes yes yes.

Shedding light on the inherent issues underlying healthcare systems when it comes to elderly patient care, Atul uses his own knowledge and experience as a medical doctor to highlight the flaws but also the growth and improvements that have been made.

I think I loved this book because it stirs up conversation around a topic that people can tend to avoid or gloss over -what problems arise from medicine’s common goal of simply prolonging life? As we get older, what does it mean for our healthcare system to make quality of life a priority versus suggesting endless options of interventions + treatments to extend quantity of life? How can we help elderly individuals retain autonomy and a sense of control in their lives as time passes, and is this even possible?

The writing of this book was poignant in a way that while Atul is speaking directly about elderly patients and how their life perspective changes, I could easily see how such anecdotes would be applicable to my own life. A big takeaway from this book -what constitutes a good, content life? How do we see people as individuals first, before a set of diagnoses or anything else?

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