Download Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande PDF

By Atul Gawande

In Being Mortal, bestselling writer Atul Gawande tackles the toughest problem of his career: how drugs can't purely increase existence but additionally the method of its ending

Medicine has triumphed nowa days, remodeling delivery, harm, and infectious illness from harrowing to achievable. yet within the inevitable situation of getting older and demise, the ambitions of drugs look too usually to run counter to the curiosity of the human spirit. Nursing houses, preoccupied with safeguard, pin sufferers into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the death, checking for important indicators lengthy after the targets of healing became moot. medical professionals, devoted to extending lifestyles, proceed to hold out devastating techniques that during the top expand suffering.

Gawande, a training health care provider, addresses his profession’s final hindrance, arguing that caliber of existence is the specified target for sufferers and households. Gawande deals examples of freer, extra socially pleasing versions for aiding the infirm and based aged, and he explores the types of hospice care to illustrate person's final weeks or months should be wealthy and dignified.

Full of eye-opening learn and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medication can convenience and improve our adventure even to the tip, supplying not just an exceptional existence but additionally a great finish.

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Extra info for Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Example text

In many societies, elders not only commanded respect and obedience but also led sacred rites and wielded political power. So much respect accrued to the elderly that people used to pretend to be older than they were, not younger, when giving their age. People have always lied about how old they are. Demographers call the phenomenon “age heaping” and have devised complex quantitative contortions to correct for all the lying in censuses. They have also noticed that, during the eighteenth century, in the United States and Europe, the direction of our lies changed.

Experts say they can gauge a person’s age to within five years from the examination of a single tooth—if the person has any teeth left to examine. Scrupulous dental care can help avert tooth loss, but growing old gets in the way. Arthritis, tremors, and small strokes, for example, make it difficult to brush and floss, and because nerves become less sensitive with age, people may not realize that they have cavity and gum problems until it’s too late. In the course of a normal lifetime, the muscles of the jaw lose about 40 percent of their mass and the bones of the mandible lose about 20 percent, becoming porous and weak.

We offered no acknowledgment or comfort or guidance. We just had another treatment he could undergo. Maybe something very good would result. We did little better than Ivan Ilyich’s primitive nineteenth-century doctors—worse, actually, given the new forms of physical torture we’d inflicted on our patient. It is enough to make you wonder, who are the primitive ones. * * * MODERN SCIENTIFIC CAPABILITY has profoundly altered the course of human life. People live longer and better than at any other time in history.

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