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Books, Journals, New Media
October 9, 2002

Surgery, Essays

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor; adviser for new media, Robert Hogan, MD, San Diego.

JAMA. 2002;288(14):1781-1782. doi:10.1001/jama.288.14.1781

With the publication of his first book, Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science, Atul Gawande takes his place in the front rank of medical science writers. In 14 vignettes allotted to three sections—"Fallibility," "Mystery," and "Uncertainty"—Dr Gawande exposes individual clinical problems and dissects deeper issues, such as surgical training and medical errors. His strong, trustworthy voice offers a coherent and persuasive medical world view.

Gawande has the storyteller's magic: in a few deft strokes, he sketches a patient, doctor, and illness. In "Education of a Knife," he recalls experiences as a first-year surgical resident; this first glimpse sets the candid tone of the book: