Top positive review
Surgeons are people, too.
Reviewed in the United States on March 9, 2017
I was referred to this book by a friend of mine who knew I liked the books of Malcolm Gladwell. I first read it near about when it came out, around 2002, and just got around to re-reading it. I had only remembered two of the stories from the book, so it was very similar to reading it again for the first time.
The theme of this book is reflected in its three parts: Fallibility, Mystery and Uncertainty. Each part talks about a particular aspect of Gawande’s career as a surgeon that deals with the less-certain side of being a doctor. Each concept is accompanied by one or more anecdotal references to his own real-life cases that illustrate his point brilliantly.
And that point is that doctors know a lot - but they don’t know everything. Their education and practical experience can help prepare them with knowledge, but skill comes from years of learned real-world practice. I could really sympathize with him and the stressors he has to deal with. I’ve been guilty as well of feeling my doctor must and should know everything that is right for me to do. The truth is a lot more complicated than that.
This book doesn’t even take into consideration the patient frustrations with healthcare - cost, attention, etc. It really does focus on pulling the screen back and giving you a glimpse into the vast uncertainty that accompanies this sometimes wondrous profession.
This is NOT a book that says, “I’m a surgeon. Here’s all the supercool things I’ve done and this is why I’m awesome and don’t you wish you could get me as your doctor?” This book shows the doctor, warts and all, and makes them much more human.