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Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science

Average Rating 4.5
( 144 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(75)

4 Star

(44)

3 Star

(17)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

This is a great read from a very respected surgeon. As a physic

This is a great read from a very respected surgeon. As a physician myself, I've always enjoyed reading books by physicians. Dr. Gawande has emerged as quite possibly the most reasonable, insightful, and even poetic of all physician writers. This book is a great read ...
This is a great read from a very respected surgeon. As a physician myself, I've always enjoyed reading books by physicians. Dr. Gawande has emerged as quite possibly the most reasonable, insightful, and even poetic of all physician writers. This book is a great read for anyone interested in the ethics of being a surgeon. Dr. Gawande's other books are also interesting reads, especially for doctors.
Other books by surgeons I highly recommend are Dr. Anthony Youn's "In Stitches," which is his absolutely hilarious and heartwarming story of becoming a doctor, and "Hot Lights Cold Steel" by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Collins. These are geared towards a general audience and very worthwhile reads.

posted by 7970514 on March 24, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Overly hyped and I fell for it

Although eager to learn something from this physician's account, I found I was willing to leave the book after 50 pages. I did not, I did read it entirely but it was a waste of time. Some physicians can write, some cannot. This is a "not".

posted by LifeExamined on December 12, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a great read from a very respected surgeon. As a physic

    This is a great read from a very respected surgeon. As a physician myself, I've always enjoyed reading books by physicians. Dr. Gawande has emerged as quite possibly the most reasonable, insightful, and even poetic of all physician writers. This book is a great read for anyone interested in the ethics of being a surgeon. Dr. Gawande's other books are also interesting reads, especially for doctors.
    Other books by surgeons I highly recommend are Dr. Anthony Youn's "In Stitches," which is his absolutely hilarious and heartwarming story of becoming a doctor, and "Hot Lights Cold Steel" by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Collins. These are geared towards a general audience and very worthwhile reads.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Read

    An inspirational book that is a must read. Insightful and original, Gawande depicts the reality of complex problems that arise in the medical profession.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    informative info on real surgeons actions

    Very good. Easy writing style, many new concepts, many chuckles also. Still biased as a surgeon, but tells many incidents from real life. Wish my doctor would read it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2014

    A great and informative read!

    Atul Gawande is a great writer and some of his stories are really page-turners, especially the last one about the patient with flesh-eating bacteria. He brings to his readers an in-depth understanding of what surgical residents go through during their training. Anyone who has ever been or ever will be (that is all of us) a patient should read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2013

    Inspiring

    What an incredible look into both the expertise and fallibility of surgeons. The larger application is that we all need to aspire to learn as much as possible about our own areas of interest or professional endeavors, but in the final analysis we must trust our intuition. While reading Dr. Ben Carson's "Gifted Hands," I notice how often he prays and actually senses or truly knows God's leading. With both authors, there is a keen awareness of human imperfection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2012

    Couldn't stop reading

    I love to read memoirs and this was one that I couldn't put down. I want to read all of his books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2011

    Loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2011

    Great author - great book!

    This was my favorite of Atul Gawande's books, but I loved them all!! Would recommend them to everyone!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2010

    Complications: Always Kept me on the Edge of my Seat!

    Atul Gawande's Complications, is a view on the less publicized uncertain half of the medical field. The half that attempts new surgeries and ideas most of which turn out to be failures rather than successes. And who better to test these new methods out on than the common patient who enters the hospital for an ordinary reason. Gawande, who is a doctor himself, discusses how this is helpful and hurtful to today's society and the overwhelming mystery that still surrounds medical science. He tries to get across the message that medicine and surgery is a necessary evil. We will never be able to improve unless we practice. The lives of some experiments are not as important as the many that could be saved in the future. He wants to get across the point that this is a harsh fact society needs to accept. I like the way he wrote the story giving examples of patients, then explaining the controversy that surrounds decisions and techniques that surgeons use. I like how he explains what really happens in the medical world. I dislike how the book rarely shows who Gawande is. By the end of the book you have no idea what he does for a living after residency or about his family or anything else. I think the story could have benefited from a personal touch. People should read this book because not only is it a good story, but it reveals many things about the medical field one would not expect. In this sense, readers can be informed when making their own medical decisions. I give the book an overall rating of 5 stars because it was informative and entertaining.

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  • Posted November 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommend ---and I haven't even read the whole book yet!

    I haven't finished this book yet and it is the greatest book. But then again I want to be a surgeon so that is an unfair advantage for liking this book. I probably would recommend this for someone that doesn't enjoy the anatomy of the human body... But is still best book ever!!! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2010

    An amazing read for anyone involved in medicine in any capacity!

    Complications is an engaging informative book about Dr. Gawande's accounters with the medical system. He sheds light on many issues in medicine that most people probably aren't too familiar with. It's a great read for anyone who is interested in medicine or even interacts with the medical system in any way, which is pretty much all of us. I learned so much about what it's like to be a doctor and a patient from reading this book. I found the first section the most interesting as it is the most applicable to patients but the last two sections are also really engaging when Gawande discusses different interesting medical phenomena. Overall, I think this book is a must read for everyone!

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Inside Workings of the Medical Field

    I read Atul Gawande's Complications a while ago and greatly enjoyed it. Dr. Gawande is an amazing writer and creates a detail image of topics in the medical field. It is very apparent that Dr. Atul Gawande is very educated and has extensive knowledge in what he writes about. Complications has the information and knowledge of a well-written peer-reviewed journal article but a writing style that is easy for anybody to read. I find that the information that Dr. Atul Gawande discusses are important for everybody to be familiar with. As a health educator I find the topics very interesting. His other book, Better, is just as good. The topics are similar in nature and just as interesting. Very well written and I recommend Complications for people who liked Better and vice versa. I believe those who are interested in the medical field will benefit and be entertained by Complications.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2009

    Excellent

    Truly inspiring for anyone considering a career in the health professions.

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  • Posted June 18, 2009

    jr82

    Great book for anyone in the medical profession

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    Wonderful, enlightening book, Well Written

    The "take home": Be pro-active and involved with your health care. Your physician/Surgeon is a trained human and wants you informed, but most people are blindly passive when it come to their heath care. Knowing medical limitations should make you more understanding when things go wrong.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2008

    Very Intriguing and Insightful

    As a senior nursing student getting ready to start work in the Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit, I wanted a book that took a look into surgery and the practice of medicine. This book satiated my interests in the two, and I would recommend it to anyone. Easy to read, informative, intriguing...couldn't put it down (even with two young kids and a husband around!)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2008

    Fascinating in the Horror and the Reassurance

    I was horrified by what I read, and also greatly reassured. We often wonder of doctors and surgeons the question, 'why?' Well, this author attempts to tell us why, and he does so in a language that is both simple and beautiful. I couldn't NOT finish this book. When I was through I immediately advised my mom to read it. I recommend it to anyone, especially those who have found themselves in a sea of medical personnel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2007

    Amazing

    This book is the best book I have ever read. Atul Gawande has great storytelling skills and excellent stories to use them on. Now I'm off to read Einstein by Walter Isaacson.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2007

    Best book on modern medicine!

    This book was the most amazing book I have ever read! Gawande goes into such a remarkable depth of patients and doctors and their heroic journeys. The tension and sheer tearer in this book is so palpable you feel like you are in the mind of Gawande. A smart read for anyone!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2007

    Very insightful!!!

    As an EMT, I am obviously interested in the medical field. I could not put this book down. He has a very charismatic way of writing about some of the hardest issues surrounding medicine.

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