Home Bookend - Where reading meets review Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande

Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande

by Venky


In this essential offering, Dr.Atul Gawande holds forth with dazzling brilliance the perils and pitfalls staring the medical profession unblinkingly in the face. Just like any other sphere of commercial business, medicine also has to grapple with pernicious issues such as prudential allocation of scarce resources among competing choices, malpractice probabilities etc. However what sets out the medical profession from the rest is the empathy surrounding the relationship between a doctor and his patient. Once such a trust is broke, medicine loses the value of its nobility.

Consider this seemingly insurmountable obstacle facing a medical team in their endeavor to eradicate polio in just one district of Southern India: An urgent need to mobilise thirty seven thousand vaccinators and four thousand health care supervisors, rent two thousand vehicles, supply more than eighteen thousand insulated vaccine carriers, and have the workers go door-to-door to vaccinate 4.2 million children. All of this in THREE DAYS!!!

Manu such instances adorn the book and provides an illuminating insight into the complex world of medicine with its complicated procedures, internecine financial squabbles, a humongous supply chain and most of all the unflinching efforts of thousands of doctors from a mega metropolis to deadly battle fronts.

The highlight of the book however is a stirring afterword where Dr.Gawande lays down a few fundamental tenets for being a ‘positive deviant’. This afterword ought not to be restricted as the reading prerogative of doctors alone. This provides a succinct and indispensable guide to leading a better and meaningful life with a focus on positive performance to every professional.

Better – Hard to find a ‘better’ work than this by a surgeon and a humanist!

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