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.

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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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