May 13, 2009
Atul Gawande is so talented that it's almost sickening.
Still in his forties, Gawande has reached the upper
echelons of two different professions; he is both a
prominent surgeon and a gifted, acclaimed writer.
Fortunately for his readers, Gawande is one of those
physician/authors who can take a mundane hospital
dilemma or diagnostic puzzle and turn it into a
gripping medical mystery. By turning a critical eye on
his own performance, he has transformed his own
experiences as a resident and surgeon into informative
and revealing essays about medicine, medical culture,
hospital error and doctor training. Gawande shines
when he addresses issues of medica decision-making and
health care policy. A recent feature on solitary
confinement and whether it constitutes torture was
somewhat less successful, largely because Gawande was
straying outside his area of expertise. However,
except for the rare misstep, Gawande's expertise and
first-hand experience, as well as his elegant prose,
endow the New Yorker's healthcare and medical coverage
a special authority and authenticity.
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