Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Written by:
Atul Gawande
Narrated by:
Robert Petkoff

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
October 2014
9 hours 0 minutes
#1 New York Times Bestseller

In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending

Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person's last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.

Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal shows how the ultimate goal is not a good death but a good lifeā€”all the way to the very end.
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Brittany K.

I'm obsessed with this book now. As someone who actually works in LTCF and palliative care, this is an intelligent, caring, gorgeous overview of the issues that come with aging, the shift our culture NEEDS to make, what we all really want from our lives, how to make the living the best it can be even in the worst circumstances, and the hard but imperative conversations we should all be having with eachother, definitely in the final stages, but ideally much, much earlier. I can't recommend this highly enough to everyone I love and everyone I help care for! Give yourself and everyone you love the best life and end possible by beginning your thought process on these subjects early and ongoing-ly. Gawande nails it in this book. The narrator is extremely pleasant, and the interview with the author at the end of this Audi version is wonderful ?!

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Kristi I

Excellent book! I think this book is one that anyone who works in help care should read. The personal stories really hit home and already has me thinking differently when I am with my patients. I have not used an audio book before but I think the narration really kept me engaged and I found myself looking forward to the next time I could listen!

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rummy walia

One of the best books written. A theoretical and practical masterpiece, intertwined so well there no way to miss the point.

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John W.

Excellent read!

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Sivan B.

I think that it is critical for everyone to read this book. The reason I gave it four stars instead of five is because it is quite depressing. That is not the author's fault, but, it was a very hard book to read. Well-written, thoughtful, and very important. But at times hard to get through because the way America treats its elderly and infirm is an abomination.

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Great book to get us all thinking about needs of older adults and quality of life. Not enough of these discussions are happening and they need to happen prior to a catastrophic event. Highly recommend this book for all older adults and their adult children.

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Lauren P.

This book is so timely for me, as I have two parents that require more care. I learned so much about what happens to the body as we age, questions and answers that need to be approached differently. The Narrator was pleasant to listen to as I spent hours staining my fence.

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Very helpful in having those difficult conversations with family members about their wishes.

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Mark H

A truly superb book but narrated with empathy and feeling. As a doctor, the story is so important to my work, but more so for all doctors and healthcare practitioners to be reflective on what is discussed. Thoroughly recommend.

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Chris F

Narration was excellent and the content helped confirm some of my true feelings on the issue of passing into the next stage of my life.

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Jeff C

This book restored my faith in the possibility of dignified, meaningful elder care, as both a current health care provider and future patient. This book is a masterpiece and tremendous gift to our society.

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Excellent book! Everyone should read it!

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Barry Andricks

I thought this book was very thoughtful and well written.

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Ben Walden

I thought this was a fantastic book. This changed the whole way I think about older people and how we treat the end of life. It also has changed the way I think about what I want for myself and my family when we inevitably reach that stage. It was a little depressing and morbid at points, but that was necessary to make the point. Excellent perspective and very well written and told.

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Doug Smith

The book and narrator are both great. It was recommended to me and didn't disappoint. I must admit, however, that it is tough subject matter and a bit depressing.

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laura rao

I don't usually wright reviews cause i'm not very good at it. Atul Gawande is amazing. This is my 3rd book by him and im blown away. I suggest any of his books. The narrator to this book I love. His voice is so enjoyable. The women Nora Moreno Cargie whom wrote a review under mine said it all. GREAT REVIEW NORA

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Nora Moreno Cargie

Incredible story telling...must read for those who care for older adults including family members. Refreshing to hear a doctor write " we've gotten it wrong" as it relates to the role of medicine during end of life; making a distinction between medical care and health care (mental spiritual and physical) in a persons final days and what that can look like....honoring the wishes of those who are ill...knowing them. Asking them what they want, having the difficult conversations--all covered through the personal story of Gawande...will read again...

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