Surgeon Atul Gawande’s sat down with Harvard Divinity School Dean David N. Hempton last week to talk about writing, health care and mortality.
He said he is not someone who came naturally to writing. He grew up in a home with academic journals, not novels, as reading material. But a friend asked him to write for a website, which led to a gig at Slate. He said the stories of the people around him “seemed bigger” than policy questions.
“It became my way of thinking out loud,” he said.
On his work in serious illness care, Gawande said it is not necessarily about helping people face. death. It’s about finding out what is important to patients as they face mortality. One patient told Gawande he wanted to stay live as long as he could eat chocolate ice cream and watch football on TV. Gawande called that “the best living will ever…It’s not about a good death. It’s about having a good life along the way.”
The HDS has posted a video of the talk.