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 book confronts difficult conversations around death and human mortality up front.
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.
These are my top three non-fiction books by doctors. Interestingly, all three of these authors changed their paths from one area to medicine, offering them a different perspective to the field. They all confront questions about human mortality and what matters at the end of life, as well as offering an appreciation of the field of medicine at a time when humanity has depended so much on it.