An Evening with Dr. Atul Gawande

Posted on in Art + Soul by Roy Strassman

Nourse Theater, October 23

If you are not already aware of Dr. Atul Gawande, he is someone to put on your radar screen. As a practicing general and endocrine surgeon in Boston, professor at Harvard’s Department of Health Policy and Management, professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School (from which he graduated), executive director of Ariadne Labs (a center for health systems innovation), board chair at Lifebox (which aims to make surgery more safe in low-income countries), staff writer for the New Yorker since 1998, author of three bestselling books, and loving husband and father, Gawande is a most impressive and rather busy man. The late Dr. Oliver Sachs hailed Gawande’s most recent book, Being Mortal, “an essential and insightful book for our times, as one would expect from . . . one of our finest physician writers.”

In conversation with City Arts and Lecture’s Indre Viskontas, Gawande illuminated not only the current state of our health care system—especially regarding the end of life—but also some of the critically important decisions we all face as we near life’s end. These eyeopening discussions are thoroughly covered in his latest book.

Gawande’s first book, Complications—a fine compilation of his New Yorker articles, should be required reading for all physicians and those medically interested. His second book, The Checklist Manifesto, which successfully advocates for a surgical checklist in operating rooms, has vastly improved surgical outcomes worldwide. His understanding of the state of our health care system and its delivery is unsurpassed. Having read his words and heard him speak on numerous occasions, I can attest to the value he brings to all he encounters.


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