Being A Practicing Surgeon, Atul Gawande Essay

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Being a practicing surgeon, Atul Gawande approaches the dilemma of aging from a unique perspective. The study and implementation of traditional medical practices, he suggests, contributes to a problem solving, solution-based approached to over coming the hurdles of old age. The medical field, he says, puts the entirety of its focus on fixing the concrete problems that patients come into the emergency room with, instead of focusing on the best overall solution to satisfy the patients primary desires at the end of life. It is a very valid and important point. Why put tens of thousands of dollars into a chemotherapy treatment plan to lengthen a persons life, if it only ends up yielding a few extra weeks and causes tremendously more pain and suffering? At what point does being alive become not worth it, especially when the patient sees not benefit, but more suffering? This is the issue within the modern medical system that bridges the gap with medicine and aging studies. Aging studies, with its theories and concepts, hopes to present a solution to the problem that Gawande points out in such detail and with so many personal examples. How can the things that are most important to the patient be provided without all the intrusiveness and extraordinary expenditures of our healthcare mentality? In summary, aging studies seeks to mend the discontinuity between the stone-faced objectivity of medical solutions and, as Gawande puts it, “what matters in the end”.
Being Mortal, in one way
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