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Desi Doctors Gain Fame As Writers

May 2007
Desi Doctors Gain Fame As Writers

Dr. Atul Gawande and Dr. Sanjay Gupta are two surgeons who're better known for what they do outside the operating theater. While Dr. Gupta became famous as CNN's senior medical correspondent, Boston-based Dr. Gawande won acclaim as a staff writer for The New Yorker. And both doctors came out with new books in April. This, of course, doesn't mean they haven't been acknowledged for their surgical skills. Dr. Gupta's exploits as a surgeon in Iraq—and, for that matter, at Grady in Atlanta—have been well documented, whereas Dr. Gawande, in addition to being a Rhodes scholar, received a $500,000 ‘genius' award from the MacArthur Foundation last year. These two talented doctors are surgeons who wield their pens, much like their scalpels, with passion and precision. The style of writing may differ, but their focus—medicine and the people affected by it—is much the same.

Dr. Gawande's Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance is a collection of previously published essays. "This is a book about performance in medicine," he writes in the introduction. "As a doctor, you go into this work thinking it is all a matter of canny diagnosis, technical prowess, and some ability to empathize with people. But it is not, you soon find out. In medicine, as in any profession, we must grapple with systems, resources, circumstances, people—and our own shortcomings, as well. We face obstacles of seemingly unending variety. Yet somehow we must advance, we must refine, we must improve. How we have and how we do is my subject here."

In Chasing Life, Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes the reader on a journey to the frontiers of medicine. "It's a book about the modern day quest for immortality," he told Khabar last year. "How do we live our lives longer? I'm not talking about eating well and exercising. I'm talking about the cutting-edge technologies today. I'm also visiting people around the world who have lived long and extraordinarily productive lives. How do they do it?" Apart from being a book of stories, it's meant to guide readers on matters of health.

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