Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance

Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance

Atul Gawande

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0312427654

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


National Bestseller

The struggle to perform well is universal: each of us faces fatigue, limited resources, and imperfect abilities in whatever we do. But nowhere is this drive to do better more important than in medicine, where lives may be on the line with any decision.

Atul Gawande, the New York Times bestselling author of Complications, examines, in riveting accounts of medical failure and triumph, how success is achieved in this complex and risk-filled profession. At once unflinching and compassionate, Better is an exhilarating journey, narrated by "arguably the best nonfiction doctor-writer around" (Salon.com).

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for that matter, kidney stones. (“If you’re starving, kidney pain certainly isn’t going to help.”) And then there is the issue of money. So far the campaign has cost three billion dollars worldwide, more than six hundred dollars a case. To put that in perspective, the Indian government’s total budget for health care in 2003 came to four dollars per person. Stopping the very last case of polio, one official told me, might cost as much as two hundred million dollars. Even if the campaign succeeds

caught on in the United States. They take far less time to use—only about fifteen seconds or so to rub a gel over the hands and fingers and let it air-dry. Dispensers can be put at the bedside more easily than a sink. And at alcohol concentrations of 50 to 95 percent, they are more effective at killing organisms, too. (Interestingly, pure alcohol is not as effective—at least some water is required to denature microbial proteins.) Still, it took Yokoe over a year to get our staff to accept the 60

I’m clean!” she blurted out. Yokoe and Marino hate this aspect of the job. They don’t want to be infection cops. It’s no fun, and it’s not necessarily effective, either. With twelve patient floors and four different patient pods per floor, they can’t stand watch the way Semmelweis did, scowling over the lone sink on his unit. And they risk having the staff revolt as his staff did against him. But what other options remain? I flipped through back issues of the Journal of Hospital Infection and

paragraphs for a blog, a paper for a professional journal, or a poem for a reading group. Just write. What you write need not achieve perfection. It need only add some small observation about your world. You should not underestimate the effect of your contribution, however modest. As Lewis Thomas once pointed out, quoting the physicist John Ziman, “The invention of a mechanism for the systematic publication of ‘fragments’ of scientific work may well have been the key event in the history of

by Atul Gawande: Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science Atul Gawande In these gripping accounts of true cases, bestselling author Atul Gawande performs exploratory surgery on medicine itself, laying bare a science not in its idealised form, but as it actually is – complicated, perplexing and profoundly human. Dramatic and revealing stories of patients and doctors explore how deadly mistakes occur, what happens when medicine comes up against the inexplicable and what it

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