Review: Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande

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This book is fantastic, but I’ve had a hard time convincing friends to read it. The full title is Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science, and they’re wary of this subject for the potential gross-out factor, the fear of learning that doctors aren’t perfect, and the suspicion that it’ll be technical and boring. I’ll address these, but the main thrust of this review is to say Atul Gawande has written an engaging work with sincerity and compassion. He contrasts stories of failed attempts with wondrous success cases, tackles the difficult subject of how a good doctor can become dangerous, and speaks for patient education. His observations are presented as a series of essays that can be picked up for a quick read, but will likely pull you from one to the next. read more