The struggle to perform well is universal: each one of us faces fatigue, limited resources, and imperfect abilities in whatever we do. But nowhere is this drive to do better more important than in medicine, where lives are on the line with every decision. In his new book, Atul Gawande explores how doctors strive to close the gap between best intentions and best performance in the face of obstacles that sometimes seem insurmountable.
Gawande's gripping stories of diligence, ingenuity, and what it means to do right by people take us to battlefield surgical tents in Iraq, to labor and delivery rooms in Boston, to a polio outbreak in India, and to malpractice courtrooms around the country. He discusses the ethical dilemmas of doctors' participation in lethal injections, examines the influence of money on modern medicine, and recounts the astoundingly contentious history of hand washing. And as in all his writing, Gawande gives us an inside look at his own life as a practicing surgeon, offering a searingly honest firsthand account of work in a field where mistakes are both unavoidable and unthinkable.
At once unflinching and compassionate, Better is an exhilarating journey narrated by "arguably the best nonfiction doctor-writer around" (Salon). Gawande's investigation into medical professionals and how they progress from merely good to great provides rare insight into the elements of success, illuminating every area of human endeavor.
Nurses is the compelling story of the year in the life of four nurses, and the drama, unsung heroism, and unique sisterhood of nursing—one of the world’s most important professions (nurses save lives every day), and one of the world’s most dangerous, filled with violence, trauma, and PTSD.
In following four nurses, Alexandra Robbins creates sympathetic characters while diving deep into their world of controlled chaos. It’s a world of hazing—“nurses eat their young.” Sex—not exactly like on TV, but surprising just the same. Drug abuse—disproportionately a problem among the best and the brightest, and a constant temptation. And bullying—by peers, by patients, by hospital bureaucrats, and especially by doctors, an epidemic described as lurking in the “shadowy, dark corners of our profession.”
The result is a page-turning, shocking look at our health-care system.
Ben Goldacre has made a point of exposing quack doctors and nutritionists, bogus credentialing programs, and biased scientific studies. He has also taken the media to task for its willingness to throw facts and proof out the window. But he's not here just to tell you what's wrong. Goldacre is here to teach you how to evaluate placebo effects, double-blind studies, and sample sizes, so that you can recognize bad science when you see it. You're about to feel a whole lot better.
No substance on earth is as hotly debated as marijuana. Opponents claim it’s dangerous, addictive, carcinogenic, and a gateway to serious drug abuse. Fans claim it as a wonder drug, treating cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, glaucoma, arthritis, migraines, PTSD, and insomnia. Patients suffering from these conditions need—and deserve—hard facts based on medical evidence, not hysteria and superstition.
In Stoned, palliative care physician Dr. David Casarett sets out to do anything—including experimenting on himself—to find evidence of marijuana’s medical potential. He smears mysterious marijuana paste on his legs and samples pot wine. He poses as a patient at a seedy California clinic and takes lessons from an artisanal hash maker. In conversations with researchers, doctors, and patients around the world he learns how marijuana works—and doesn’t—in the real world.
Dr. Casarett unearths tales of near-miraculous success, such as a child with chronic seizures who finally found relief in cannabidiol oil. In Tel Aviv, he learns of a nursing home that’s found success giving marijuana to dementia patients. On the other hand, one patient who believed marijuana cured her lung cancer has clearly been misled. As Casarett sifts the myth and misinformation from the scientific evidence, he explains, among other things:
• Why marijuana might be the best treatment option for some types of pain
• Why there’s no significant risk of lung damage from smoking pot
• Why most marijuana-infused beer or wine won’t get you high
Often humorous, occasionally heartbreaking, and full of counterintuitive conclusions, Stoned offers a compassionate and much-needed medical practitioner’s perspective on the potential of this misunderstood plant.
From the Hardcover edition.
Food. There's plenty of it around, and we all love to eat it. So why should anyone need to defend it?
Because in the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion--most of what we’re consuming today is longer the product of nature but of food science. The result is what Michael Pollan calls the American Paradox: The more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we see to become. With In Defense of Food, Pollan proposes a new (and very old) answer to the question of what we should eat that comes down to seven simple but liberating words: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Pollan’s bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we can start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives, enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy, and bring pleasure back to eating.
"Michael Pollan [is the] designated repository for the nation's food conscience."
-Frank Bruni, The New York Times
" A remarkable volume . . . engrossing . . . [Pollan] offers those prescriptions Americans so desperately crave."
-The Washington Post
"A tough, witty, cogent rebuttal to the proposition that food can be redced to its nutritional components without the loss of something essential... [a] lively, invaluable book."
--Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"In Defense of Food is written with Pollan's customary bite, ringing clarity and brilliance at connecting the dots."
-The Seattle Times
Michael Pollan’s most recent book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation--the story of our most trusted food expert’s culinary education--was published by Penguin Press in April 2013, and in 2016 it serves as the inspiration for a four-part docuseries on Netflix by the same name.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the Paperback edition.
This story of Collins' four-year surgical residency traces his rise from an eager but clueless first-year resident to accomplished Chief Resident in his final year. With unparalleled humor, he recounts the disparity between people's perceptions of a doctor's glamorous life and the real thing: a succession of run down cars that are towed to the junk yard, long weekends moonlighting at rural hospitals, a family that grows larger every year, and a laughable income.
Collins' good nature helps him over some of the rough spots but cannot spare him the harsh reality of a doctor's life. Every day he is confronted with decisions that will change people's lives-or end them-forever. A young boy's leg is mangled by a tractor: risk the boy's life to save his leg, or amputate immediately? A woman diagnosed with bone cancer injures her hip: go through a painful hip operation even though she has only months to live? Like a jolt to the system, he is faced with the reality of suffering and death as he struggles to reconcile his idealism and aspiration to heal with the recognition of his own limitations and imperfections.
Unflinching and deeply engaging, Hot Lights, Cold Steel is a humane and passionate reminder that doctors are people too. This is a gripping memoir, at times devastating, others triumphant, but always compulsively readable.
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