Post #42 A book review - Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

In his breathtaking book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Atul Gawande (one of my favorite authors) elegantly describes three different modalities of patient counseling that doctors employ.  The first is the oldest and most traditional approach, a paternalistic relationship.  The doctor not only has the knowledge to guide the patient, but also possesses the experience and wisdom to make decisions on their behalf.  The second type of relationship is termed "informative."  Here the doctor informs you about the facts and figures related to your medical problem, along the lines of a talking Wikipedia page donning a white coat, but allows you to make your own decisions in regards to your health.  And finally, the third type of relationship is called "interpretive."  Here the doctor asks a series of probing questions to discover your priorities and assists you in navigating the medical maze to achieve your goal.  Methodically, Gawande utilizes a small gamut of actual patients he has encountered in real life, including his own father, and through their life stories he takes the reader step by step in his maturation process as he evolves from a mixture of initially employing the first two approaches - leaning heavily towards the informative style - to an actualization of becoming an "interpretive" doctor.  At times, along the way, Gawande has to remind himself of what he has learned from palliat...
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