Analysis Of Atul Gawande 's Being Mortal

Decent Essays

Death is a difficult topic for most people to discuss. Even those in the medical profession, such as doctors and surgeons, have a tough time discussing the prospect of death with patients. In Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, Gawande delves into what really matters as life comes to an end, new ways of helping the elderly enjoy their waning days, and the role of doctors and medicine in curing diseases and dealing with patients. Sheri Fink, a reporter for the New York Times, reviewed this book on November 6, 2014 for The New York Times Sunday Book Review in “Atul Gawande’s ‘Being Mortal’”. She thinks Being Mortal is a “valuable contribution to the growing literature on aging, death, and dying”, and does a good job of introducing the topic of …show more content…

However, there are some points in which we differ on. For example, Fink writes, “If that sounds vague, Gawande has plenty of engaging and nuanced stories to leave the reader with a good sense of what he means”. In reference to Gawande’s comments on the job of doctors as enabling well-being, Fink argues that the included stories help to explain his argument. I agree with Fink’s statement, but I also think that it goes beyond that. Gawande includes anecdotes on nearly all of his topics, from the dilemma of doctor and patient conversation regarding treatment to the ordeals of the elderly in adjusting to nursing homes. These anecdotes are essential to each topic he discusses, providing a visual image to the reader and giving Gawande credibility at the same time by using real life examples. Gawande’s arguments would not be as effective without the stories he provides as support.
The different places senior citizens live in is widely discussed in the first part of Being Mortal. Nursing homes are one of the most common places for seniors to end up. Based on Gawande’s descriptions and anecdotes on nursing home life, it seems that there is no autonomy when living in a nursing home. Gawande ponders current methods of handling the elderly in the following quote: “How did we wind up in a world where the only choices for the very old seem to be either going down with the volcano or yielding all control over our lives?” (68). In this quote, Gawande refers to

Get Access