Being Mortal, by physician and bestselling author Atul Gawande, is a riveting book that raises a significant question regarding today’s healthcare for the dying: Are we, by fighting against death at all costs, at times doing more harm than good to the lives of our patients?
Through significant research, firsthand experience, and masterful storytelling, Gawande explores the idea that despite their best intentions, the commitment of doctors to extend life often causes them to carry out procedures that in the end extend suffering. He argues that we are often missing a key step in the end-of-life care – actually asking the difficult questions to better understand the desires of the patient so they might have “the best life possible” by their own definition of what that looks like for them.
Being Mortal encourages families and individuals to begin having those conversations now, rather than waiting until it is too late. Gawande shares powerful stories of patients who are able to have this conversation, allowing them and their families/caregivers to navigate the difficult choices of medical care with confidence that they are doing what the individual wants for himself/herself.
Despite the heaviness of the topic, Gawande has masterfully written a book that is both significant in its message and enjoyable to read. If you want to prepare yourself, your close friends, and your loved ones for this chapter of life that most of us will one day encounter, you could hardly find a better starting point to the conversation than reading and sharing Being Mortal.
If you’ve already read Being Mortal, please feel free to share your thoughts about the book with others here.