Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande

By Atul Gawande

National Bestseller

The fight to accomplish good is common: each one people faces fatigue, restricted assets, and imperfect skills in no matter what we do. yet nowhere is that this force to do higher extra vital than in drugs, the place lives will be at the line with any decision.

Atul Gawande, the New York Times bestselling writer of problems, examines, in riveting money owed of scientific failure and triumph, how good fortune is accomplished during this advanced and risk-filled career. right now unflinching and compassionate, Better is an exciting trip, narrated by means of "arguably the easiest nonfiction doctor-writer round" (

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Stopping the very last case of polio, one official told me, might cost as much as two hundred million dollars. Even if the campaign succeeds in the eradication of polio, it is entirely possible that more lives would be saved in the future if the money were spent on, say, building proper sewage systems or improving basic health services. What’s more, success is by no means assured. WHO has had to extend its target date for eradication from 2000 to 2002 to 2005 and now is having to extend it again.

Another doctor pulled out some figures on the area. Bellary district, he told Pankaj, has a population of 2,965,459, with 542 villages and nine urban towns. Fifty-two percent of the males and 74 percent of the females are illiterate. There are just ninety-nine doctors in the district public health system. He turned to a map. The polio cases, he said, were clustered in a triangle of villages around Siriguppa, a small, slum-ridden town about forty miles away. Pankaj made his assignments. For the mop-up, he would check on progress in at least Upparahalla, a village called Sirigere where polio had appeared, the two urban areas with hot cases, and a mine in Chitradurga, where vaccinators might have particular difficulties gaining entry because the housing was on the property of a private company.

Qxd 44 2/1/08 3:06 PM Page 44 Better utility poles, and the sound of televisions poured out from some of the houses. The two hot cases, we found, were in a small Muslim enclave that had sprouted up a few months earlier. Going door to door, Pankaj learned that almost none of the enclave’s children had received routine immunizations. Some of the families seemed suspicious of us, answering questions tersely or trying to avoid us altogether. We found one boy whom the vaccinators had missed. Pankaj was concerned other children might have been hidden.

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