Complications by Atul Gawande

May 4, 2011
By , athens, OH
Complication is a book written by Atul Gawande. Gawande is a New York Times Best Selling author. He grew up in Athens, Ohio and my parents know him and his parents very well. The novel Complications talks about real life cases that doctors deal with. Some cases may be about his family, others may be about his patients he encounters everyday and some are just other physicians.
Each chapter is separated into different cases dealing with different situation. I thought it was interesting when he talked about a doctor from Akron, Ohio. In order to try and protect identity Gawande uses Dr. X or Mr. to describe the person. This doctor from Akron was one of the top surgeons and was greatly praised. He had done many successful operations, but towards the end of his career, he began doing unsuccessful operations. For example, if someone was suffering from severe abdominal pain, the doctor would just nothing is wrong and stop crying like a baby. This continued for almost ten years until one day, when one of his colleagues reported him in. Therefore, he lost his license and job.
Annually, doctors hold a convention in different cities. At these conventions, doctors present cases of mistakes other doctors made. Gawande then saw a doctor in a separate room giving a presentation about how doctor’s behaviors can be analyzed to suggest whether or not they are liable to proceed with their careers. Gawande went and also recommend that Dr. X go to this hospital. Dr. X was diagnosed with depression and bipolar. He was unauthorized to work.

Another case that I found interesting was about his children. Gawande brings up an interesting question about how when you bring in an infant to the ER, everyone just assumes that the child has been abused. For example, Gawande’s child Hati was only a year old she was on the sofa when she fell off and her bone snapped. They rushed to the ER and the doctors and nurse just keep on asking how all this happened. Soon, the doctors believed Gawande and let him off because of his career status. I would consider this a type of discrimination against families near the poverty line. Walker, the eldest son, has had heart problem ever since he was born. Gawande talks about how at one point, he could have operated on his son, but he wanted another doctor to operate and treat Walker. Gawande thought if anything went wrong then he didn’t want to be liable and live with the burden of his son’s death.
This book is a non-fiction book. This book is a bit out of my comfort zone so I would get distracted easily. Some parts I found interesting while others were boring. Overall, the book had good information and topics about the science. Some parts also describe cutting open a person for an autopsy or surgery. These parts can gruesome and bloody but what would you expect from a book written by a surgeon. Overall, if you need to read a scientific book that is non-fiction, I would recommend this book.

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