Being Mortal is a nonfiction book written by a physician that discusses end of life care, and a new perspective on it. Atul Gawande experiences this firsthand when his father becomes ill, and he decides that medicine isn’t the only thing one should rely on regarding end of life care. Gawande talks about how in a situation like his, it is important to ask your elderly relative what they want and how far they want to go with medicine before they don’t feel they have the proper quality of life. He emphasizes quality of life versus quantity, and how in his father’s case he was happy as long as he could watch football on TV and eat chocolate ice cream. If any medication or surgery would prolong his life but prevent him from watching TV and eating his ice cream, he didn’t want it.
This book gave a really interesting take on hospitals and doctors, and it made me rethink about the kind of decisions that need to be made regarding care from doctors. A lot of people want to just extend their family member’s life for as long as possible and are willing to do whatever it takes, without thinking about the quality of life. The book was very well written, and I enjoyed reading Gawande’s perspective as a doctor himself, but also as the son of a man who is experiencing the things that he is talking about. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in healthcare and the decisions that need to be made by healthcare professionals and by the patients and their family.