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Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science Paperback – April 1, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 2,098 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Surgeon, MacArthur fellow, and New Yorker staff writer Gawande follows his best-sellers Complications (2002) and Better (2007) with an electrifying manifesto that pairs the most advanced medical science with the humblest of tools: the checklist. Concerned about medical mistakes, an array of which Gawande describes in dramatic passages guaranteed to raise your blood pressure, Gawande investigated the nature of ineptitude and found that the more complex our lives and work become—a raging side effect of technology—the easier it is for us to overlook details and to err, sometimes catastrophically. Hence the well-thought-out to-do list. Overwhelming torrents of details and demands are by no means restricted to medicine. In fact, Gawande discovered the power of the checklist in his research into aviation, and he extends his inquiry to architecture, finance, and legal cases. Back on his turf, Gawande credits nurses with creating the first health checklists and describes his own quest to make and properly use a safe-surgery checklist. With numerous tales from the front and striking anatomies of cognition and distraction, Gawande’s back-to-basics credo is invaluable. --Donna Seaman

Review

“None surpass Gawande in the ability to create a sense of immediacy, in his power to conjure the reality of the ward, the thrill of the moment-by-moment medical or surgical drama. Complications impresses for its truth and authenticity, virtues that it owes to its author being as much forceful writer as uncompromising chronicler.” ―The New York Times Book Review

“No one writes about medicine as a human subject as well as Atul Gawande. His stories about becoming a surgeon are scary, funny, absorbing....Complications is a uniquely soulful book about the science of mending bodies.” ―Adam Gopnik, author of Paris to the Moon

“Gawande is arguably the best nonfiction doctor-writer around....He's prescient and thoughtful...the heir to Lewis Thomas' humble, insightful and brilliantly crafted oeuvre.” ―Salon.com

“Complications is a book about medicine that reads like a thriller. Every subject Atul Gawande touches is probed and dissected and turned inside out with such deftness and feeling and counterintuitive insight that the reader is left breathless.” ―Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point

“Gawande is a writer with a scalpel pen and an X-ray eye.... He turns every case--from gunshot wounds to morbid obesity to flesh-eating bacteria--into a thriller in miniature. Diagnosis: riveting.” ―Time

“Gawande's prose, much like the scalpel he wields, is precise, daring, but never reckless....Much like reading George Orwell, the reader emerges entertained, enlightened, transformed and immensely satisfied.” ―Abraham Verghese, author of My Own Country

“Wrenching human tales...Gawande has pushed the medical yarn in a new direction.” ―The Boston Globe

“Atul Gawande is a rare and wonderful storyteller who portrays his profession with bravery and humanity.” ―Ellen Goodman, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist

The stories in Complications are gripping medical mysteries that always have something extra. Gawande draws you in with the story but leaves you wiser about science, about health care issues, and even about the human condition.” ―Michael Kinsley

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Picador; 1st edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 269 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0312421702
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0312421700
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 8.8 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 0.72 x 8.25 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 2,098 ratings

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Atul Gawande is the author of three bestselling books: Complications, a finalist for the National Book Award; Better, selected by Amazon.com as one of the ten best books of 2007; and The Checklist Manifesto. He is also a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1998, and a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He has won two National Magazine Awards, a MacArthur Fellowship, and been named one of the world's hundred most influential thinkers by Foreign Policy and TIME. In his work as a public health researcher, he is Director of Ariadne Labs a joint center for health system innovation. And he is also co-founder and chairman of Lifebox, a global not-for-profit implementing systems and technologies to reduce surgical deaths globally. He and his wife have three children and live in Newton, Massachusetts.

You can find more at http://www.atulgawande.com.

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
2,098 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

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Top reviews from other countries

Brian R. Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Daily dilemmas of a junior surgeon
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 17, 2014
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Damaskcat
5.0 out of 5 stars Complications
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 11, 2013
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Tunde
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 8, 2019
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Barbara Macdonald
5.0 out of 5 stars Surgical practice
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 12, 2015
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Dynevor
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into the science or is it the art of surgery?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 16, 2020
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