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Download Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample Final Exam: A Surgeons Reflections on Mortality (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Pauline W. Chen
3.81 out of 53.81 out of 53.81 out of 53.81 out of 53.81 out of 5 3.81 (31 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Pauline W. Chen Narrator: Pauline W. Chen Publisher: Phoenix Books Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2007 ISBN:
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A brilliant young transplant surgeon brings moral intensity and narrative drama to the most powerful and vexing questions of medicine and the human condition.

When Pauline Chen began medical school 20 years ago, she dreamed of saving lives. What she did not count on was how much death would be a part of her work. Almost immediately, Chen found herself wrestling with medicine's most profound paradox: that a profession premised on caring for the ill also systematically depersonalizes dying. Final Exam follows Chen over the course of her education, training, and practice as she grapples at strikingly close range with the problem of mortality. She struggles to reconcile the lessons of her training with her innate knowledge of shared humanity, and to separate her ideas about healing from her fierce desire to cure.

From her first dissection of a cadaver in gross anatomy class, to the moment she first puts a scalpel to a living person; from the first time she witnesses someone flat-lining in the emergency room, to the first time she pronounces a patient dead, Chen is struck by her own mortal fears. There was a dying friend she could not call, a young patient's tortured death she could not forget, and even the sense of shared kinship with a corpse she could not cast aside when asked to saw its pelvis in two.

Gradually, as she confronts the ways in which her fears have incapacitated her, she begins to reject what she has been taught about suppressing her feelings for her patients, and she begins to carve out a new role for herself as a physician and as human being. Chen's transfixing and beautiful rumination on how doctors negotiate the ineluctable fact of death becomes, in the end, a brilliant questioning of how we should live.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Betsy | 2/19/2014

    " This is memoir/series of essays about a surgeon's development from scared medical student, to a doctor who is reluctant to interact with patients on a meaningful level, to a surgeon who empathsizes, communicates and shares the human experience with her patients. With poignant self-awareness, Pauline Chen shares her own fears, and her internal fight to become a better surgeon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurel | 2/13/2014

    " This is a book of such compassion. I loved reading it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 2/7/2014

    " Author seems to have (in my medical/cardiac ICU nurse mind) an overly high view of surgeons. However, that isn't the point of the book, the book is to reflect on medicine's attitude and treatment - her attitude and treatment - of dying patients, which she does well; most of her stories are compelling and some ring true for me (despite my different background). She did a good job laying out a general structure of the book in the introduction, but I sometimes got lost in how each little story in each chapter fit together. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lynn | 2/4/2014

    " DNF. First one-third of the book did not contain a single new or striking revelation about the topic of the title. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kaylorgarcia | 2/1/2014

    " It questions our perceptions of the medical system and what it means to live while dying. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shirley beverly | 1/23/2014

    " My healthcare background made me read this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike | 1/21/2014

    " Thought this would be a good book to read as the health care debate unfolds in the US. I highly recommend the book to anyone in the medical professions, but think there are more appropriate treatises on death and mortality for other audiences. Mary Roach's Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers offers a more lighthearted glimpse into that which awaits us all. For a philosophical and psychological examination of mortality, Ernest Becker's The Denial of Death is indispensable and potentially life-changing. Still, Chen does an admirable job of presenting the physician's dilemma between the struggle to save lives and the responsibility to prepare patients for the inevitable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kbakken | 1/18/2014

    " This book opened my eyes to how doctors think and what they go through; really stayed with me. Sensitively written and compassionate without being syrupy. Author Chen conveys the fears of medical training including the strangely intimate ritual of the med school cadaver while lamenting lack of training in bedside manner. Great book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 1/15/2014

    " Interesting theme: doctors are so afraid of death/hardwired to simply "cure" that they often pursue treatments that lengthen life but diminish its quantity. Ironically, Chen paints doctors as a population that seems most afraid to discuss, confront and accept death. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cristin | 12/19/2013

    " An interesting discussion of how physicians learn to avoid and diminish death. At times the author is overly earnest, but overall I enjoyed the perspective of a young woman aurgeon who, though surrounded by death in her daily work, has yet to come to address the idea of death and dying. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dee | 12/19/2013

    " A surgeon's view of the changing attitudes regarding end of life care. I thought it was very good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karyn | 12/18/2013

    " Interesting thoughts on dead and the medical profession from a rather personal account. I would have liked more examples of how she became better at talking to patients about death. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roxanne | 12/18/2013

    " Dr. Chen, a surgeon and liver transplant specialist, shares her concerns that doctors do not receive adequate training regarding helping patients and families to deal with end-of-life issues. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melanie | 12/4/2013

    " One surgeon's story of how she came to grips with the mortality of her patients and how ultimately it helped her become a better physician. I liked her story well enough, but didn't find her writing style very engaging so I only give this three stars. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cohee4 | 12/1/2013

    " Excellent read. You know it's well written when you can't put a nonfiction book about death and dying down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Glenn Cummings | 8/5/2012

    " Depressing. Chen's topic is dying. The book is a litany of dead patient stories. Very insightful about surgeons' personalities and the "surgeons' culture," and also somewhat unique in its emphasis on empathy as the primary trait a good doctor needs. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cynthia | 5/29/2012

    " I was at a store that sells cheap books and this caught my eye. So far, it is very intriguing. Made it through her semester with a cadaver and now making it through her first witnessed code. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael Rushnak | 2/29/2012

    " Realistic portrayal of the "final exam" on all of us. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eileen | 11/29/2011

    " good book,I really enjoyed it but I expected more at the end,like Pauline Chen would have something to sum up her experiences of dealing with death and dying and her patients and what she learned by her experiences. I would recomend this book but it did leave me wanting a bit more, "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angela | 10/12/2011

    " Excellent -- elegantly covers how physicians deal (or don't) with death in their work. Several great essays spanning Chen's med school training to her clinical experience. A sensitive and observant writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christine | 8/20/2011

    " Fascinating, interesting, and touching. It was too short for my tastes but Chen's description of her internal struggle with mortality is riveting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Autumn | 1/15/2011

    " Not bad, but I think it would have been better for a nice long essay vs book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 12/29/2010

    " It's always interesting to see the viewpoints of others and I liked seeing the doctor's thoughts about death. Sometimes it seemed a bit dramatic and other times detached and routine. Made me examine my own thoughts a bit more... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cohee4 | 12/22/2010

    " Excellent read. You know it's well written when you can't put a nonfiction book about death and dying down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda | 11/4/2010

    " Since I deal with death and dying (and surgeons) a lot, this introspective book was perfect for me! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Virginia | 9/11/2010

    " I wanted to read this after reading Dr. Chen's columns in the New York Times. The book is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 TY | 7/5/2010

    " Well written and at times interesting. Although the author focused on her personal reflections on death, there's a fair bit of autobiographical type materials as well. Not that they were any less interesting. If you generally enjoy doctor books, you might like this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melanie | 6/10/2010

    " One surgeon's story of how she came to grips with the mortality of her patients and how ultimately it helped her become a better physician. I liked her story well enough, but didn't find her writing style very engaging so I only give this three stars. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane | 5/23/2010

    " I gave this book five stars because it matched so many of my own thoughts and feelings about end of life care. Every one who goes into medicine should have to read this or even better Dr Chen could do lectures to all prospective doctors. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dee | 1/28/2010

    " A surgeon's view of the changing attitudes regarding end of life care. I thought it was very good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angela | 12/18/2009

    " pages I dogearred - 90, 100, 160 "

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