Books With Guts

August 9, 2008

If you’re looking for a compelling and honest voice coming from the world of medicine, do yourself a favor and pick up a couple of books — Better and Complications, by Dr. Atul Gawande, a Boston surgeon, writer for the New Yorker and assistant professor at Harvard’s medical school (geez, what hasn’t the man done? Did I mention he wrote his first book, Complications, while still in med school? And it was a finalist for the National Book Award?). Anyway, both are filled with wonderful and fascinating ruminations on the science and art of medicine, including tales of tissue engineering (did you know that doc at Cedars-Sinai hospital grew some bioengineered livers, thereby buying time for those waiting for a liver transplant?) and the success of hand-washing in reducing hospital infections. It takes major guts for Gawande to admit to the many mistakes doctors and hospitals make, with hope that people will understand doctors are human beings after all, and that lawyers and litigation do not make better doctors — identifying mistakes and correcting them, however, does make better doctors. Great reads, if you are a medicine junkie like I am, I highly recommend both. Better than an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, even.

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