This review of Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande provides a chapter by chapter detailed summary followed by an analysis and critique of the strengths and weaknesses of this book.
Gawande draws on clinical studies, case histories and stories from his own experiences as a doctor and a son to illuminate the subject of mortality relative to modern medical systems. His treatment of the subject covers a broad range of institutions and individuals that shape the lives of the aged and terminally ill. The central thesis of the book is that the experience of the end of life has been problematized and addressed by medical models that place extending life over quality of life and institutional frameworks that place safety and efficiency over the ability for people to have autonomy over the last part of their lives.
Gawande is a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a professor at the Harvard Medical School. He is a writer at The New Yorker magazine and author of three New York Times bestselling books.