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Palliative Care: What we can learn from Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal

Death is a topic that societally many shy away from. Dr. Atul Gawande discusses in his book Being Mortal the way in which western medicine often disregards death as a possibility or a concern, potentially leading to uncertainty if a patient takes a turn in that direction. 

Death is hard to talk about because it is a concept that many fear. This book discusses the importance of conversations surrounding end of life. It outlines the significance of each component of this conversation which ultimately details a patient’s cultural values, religious views, and personal beliefs, which all contribute to the way that one wants to live and die.

I firmly believe that this is a text that should be read by all patient facing clinicians and future clinicians. When equipped with this information, we may truly be able to make an impact in the lives of those around us by respecting their wishes and ultimately who they are.

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