BEING MORTAL- A Book Review

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Some time back, i  had gifted a book by Atul Gawande “The checklist Manifesto” to one of my friend, and received really good feedback. Prior to that i had only heard about the writer, from various sources, and many recommendations were available for his books. So this time around , roaming around the shelves of Crosswords , when i came across “Being Mortal” , i decided to pick it up. The initial few pages weren’t that interesting , however i started gaining interest soon enough.

Writer is a surgeon in US and talks about gerontology, assisted deaths and old age care facilities in general. The topic is as such new and at least i haven’t read anything on these lines prior to this book. Atul has relevant questions like even after having substantial number of elderly people, we do not take the enough measures to make their last phase comfortable. He also points out to issues in medicine world, where doctors are ready to offer options  after options but refrain admitting that no matter how much they attempt, each one of us is mortal and is bound to die.

He has quoted examples and real life scenarios to make a case for assisted deaths , hospice care to be  specific. I am not expert to comment on the subject as i think the concept is yet to gain popularity in indian context, but his arguments do have a valid point. I also liked the section where Gawande has advocated having last phase discussion with the patient, to know what their preferences would be. It actually enables the family to take tough calls and also provides assurance that whatever was done, was what the patient himself wanted.

The language of the book is easy, and even though he is a medical practitioner, book is devoid of any jargons so as to make it difficult to comprehend. With increasing medical bills , hospitals & doctors turning more into business , it surely gives us food for thought

All & all, a very good and thought provoking work of Gawande. I surely do recommend.

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