Atul Gawande is a man I watch. Try wiki for his probably fairly factual biography. Given what I’ve read by him, I am intrigued that he is now CEO of the non-profit-seeking health care venture formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase to deliver better outcomes, satisfaction, and cost efficiency in care as well as continuing to teach and perform surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Today tho, I’m writing about his total humanistic and empathetic book “Mortality” about the way in which we can choose to die. In the American healthcare system (if you’re adequately insured), the temptation for the family and loved ones of someone in their final years or months to do what the medical profession CAN do rather than to think about what SHOULD be done. Mr. Gawande does a superb job of pointing out that death should first be centered around the desires of the person about to depart life.
I realize this is a tough issue — mortality — and that your temptation may be to skip this book. Please don’t. It’s a fairly easy read, is remarkably gentle and thoughtful, and will provide you with support for doing the caring thing, rather than the possible thing. In many cases, that requires no more than asking the dying person what they would like to do in their remaining time. I am still touched by the one person who wanted to eat ice cream and watch football. And why shouldn’t he have been able to do that so long as he had pain control?
I highly recommend this book and also that you keep an eye on what Mr. Gawande is involved in or has to say.