Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science

Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science

by Atul Gawande

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Overview

In gripping accounts of true cases, surgeon Atul Gawande explores the power and the limits of medicine, offering an unflinching view from the scalpel's edge. Complications lays bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is—uncertain, perplexing, and profoundly human.

Complications is a 2002 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312421700
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 04/01/2003
Edition description: REV
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 40,423
Product dimensions: 8.06(w) x 11.28(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Atul Gawande is the author of four bestselling books: Complications, a finalist for the National Book Award; Better; The Checklist Manifesto; and Being Mortal. He is also a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He has won the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science, a MacArthur Fellowship, and two National Magazine Awards. In his work in public health, he is Founder and Chair of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation, and Lifebox, a nonprofit organization making surgery safer globally. He is also chair of Haven, where he was CEO from 2018–2020. He and his wife have three children and live in Newton, Massachusetts.

Hometown:

Newton, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

November 5, 1965

Place of Birth:

Brooklyn, New York

Education:

B.A.S., Stanford University, 1987; M.A., Oxford University, 1989; M.D., Harvard Medical School, 1995

Read an Excerpt

When you are in the operating room for the first time and see the surgeon press his scalpel to someone's body, you either shudder in horror or gape in awe. I gaped. It wasn't the blood and guts that enthralled me. It was the idea that a mere person would ever have the confidence to wield that scalpel. I wondered how the surgeon knew that all the steps would go as planned, that bleeding would be controlled and organs would not be injured. He didn't, but still he cut.

Later, I was allowed to make an incision myself. The surgeon drew a six-inch dotted line across the patient's abdomen and then, to my surprise, had the nurse hand me the knife. It was, I remember, still warm. I put the blade to the skin and cut. The experience was odd and addictive, mixing exhilaration, anxiety, a righteous faith that operating was somehow beneficial, and the slightly nauseating discovery that it took more force than I realized. The moment made me want to be a surgeon — someone with the assurance to proceed as if cutting were routine.

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