This book explored on a deeply philosophical level, what really matters at the end of life? How can we have a good death? By cleverly combining the science of medicine with the philosophy of life, Gawande explores how modern medicine has changed over time.
He shares his personal story from his own family and personal life, as well as examples from his patients. This books confronts difficult conversations around death and human mortality up front.
Rachel Clarke is a palliative care doctor, who worked as a journalist before retraining as a doctor. She shares her personal and professional journey with the reader through this transition and her eventual specialisation in palliative care. She picked this specialism because of its patient-focus, rather than focus on the disease. She explains how it is the human story which matters in both medicine and journalism.
The book is not just a memoir as it cleverly combines philosophy and medicine in a way that is accessible to all audiences. It explores a range of ethical and practical issues, offering an insight into what goes on inside a hospice, care of the elderly, perspectives towards terminal illness, and ultimately how much empathy and humanity is valued in palliative care.
This book is written by Henry Marsh who shares his unconventional journey into neurosurgery after studying medicine as a second degree. The title of the book is reminiscent of the first hippocratic oath, which is an oath often taken by medical physicians: “first do no harm”.
The book is littered with candid examples of his patients and his reflections, through his time in medical school to becoming a neurosurgeon. The book tries to address how to deal with the consequences if everything goes wrong, but this time in a life and death situation. It crosses the fields of philosophy, ethics, and medicine.