Review – Being Mortal

Posted 26 July, 2016 by Nikki in Reviews / 2 Comments

Cover of Being Mortal by Atul GawandeBeing Mortal, Atul Gawande

Death and ways of dying is a thing that a lot of people don’t like to think about, but which is really, really important, and Atul Gawande’s book treats the issues with sensitivity, thought and a wisdom born of experience. It’s not just a doctor’s point of view on death, but an educated look at the ways people die in our society, how things can be different, and a personal point of view — as well as talking about his patients, Gawande talks about his own father’s experience of dying.

It’s not a cold and clinical book, at all; in fact, I found myself crying while reading parts of it. I don’t necessarily always agree with Gawande (I think that voluntary euthanasia and better end of life care can and should co-exist, while he is much more cautious about whether allowing euthanasia causes people to pay less attention to providing better palliative care), but I do respect his point of view and his careful exploration of the facts. He discusses different ways of running nursing homes, different case studies, and different approaches to death and dying, and never did I feel that he was seeing an illness instead of a patient, a problem to be solved instead of a person.

I think this is a very worthwhile read for doctors, for patients, for young people and old people, for carers… for everyone. These are discussions that need to be had. My family know what I want to happen if I were to be ill without hope of recovery, when I would want the life support machines turned off, that I would want my organs to be available for transplants, etc. Do yours?

Rating: 5/5

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2 Responses to “Review – Being Mortal”

    • I really appreciated it — and handed it off to my mother (a consultant psychiatrist) as soon as I was done. I definitely recommend it.

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