Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Book review by:

Polly Triggol

Not since the war years have we been more aware of our mortality, unless we are already facing terminal illness.

Listed as a ‘self-help’ book, it is really much more. The first chapters discuss the care home issues that we may face at some point, and offer some beautiful glimpses into innovative practice, which allow residents to enjoy self-determination, in both creating their own unique living space and, in particular, enjoying and caring for various ‘resident’ animals within their care home.  I loved this part.

Moving to the complicated & tortuous area of ‘end of life’ care, I learned just how much modern interventions in the way of cocktails drugs can prolong life at the expense of ‘quality of life’.

For me, the essential and perilous task of medical practitioners lies in their ability to balance the tools to delay death, and the ability to really listen to their patients wishes for a peaceful end and offer the least invasive palliative care.