Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science

Topics: Physician, Medicine, Surgery Pages: 3 (888 words) Published: May 7, 2014
Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science “Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science” is a book full of stories from Dr. Atul Gawande’s medical residency. In this book, he tells some of his most traumatic and intense stories from a surgeon’s point of view. He explains the need for good decision making skills, judgment, and the importance of education in an important career. His stories are very inspiring and fascinating. Complications lays bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is uncertain, perplexing, and profoundly human. In the first section of the book, “Fallibility,” Gawande provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the operating theatre that lays bare the “imperfect science” that is surgery. He sheds light on the error-prone nature of medicine through recollections of real-life cases in the wards and operating theatre the orthopedic surgeon who amputates the wrong limb; the long-respected yet burned-out doctor who suddenly loses his touch; and the young resident who forgets to remove a surgical sponge from inside the patient. Gawande confesses his own mistakes too, from his failed attempts learning how to place a central venous catheter line for the first time, to his emergency tracheotomy crisis scenario that almost killed the patient. Through these cases, Gawande raises delicate questions that continue to stir controversy within the medical community In a section called “Mystery,” the author revisits cases that continue to baffle him, such as a woman whose initially unremarkable morning sickness persisted until the day she gave birth. Throughout the book, Gawande suggests that no complaint or treatment is routine. “During a surgeon’s career, there is a lot of uncertainty about exactly what to do,” Gawande explains. “You’d love for there to be clear guidelines for everything, but that’s not the case.” ” Gawande delves into the strange and perplexing patient cases that remind us how little we really know...
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