Review of When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Rating *****

It’s not  often that I call a book profound, but this book fits the bill. This is the story of a neurosurgeon, in his thirties, who learns that he has terminal cancer. It’s a memoir both about saving lives and loss of life. As a neurosurgeon, the author makes life and death decisions regarding his patients. He describes scenes in the OR where an incision a millimeter too deep can have life altering affects. He describes patients and their families faced with making life and death decisions. So, when the doctor becomes the patient, he is able to see things from the patients point of view. The reader follows the author from the initial diagnosis through his rapid decline where his own hopes and dreams fade away.

I am fortunate to have my health. If in the future I am faced with the prospect of having to survive by medical intervention, with no prospect of recovery from that condition, I know, and my wife knows, what decision I will make. Life is a precious and fragile thing. Appreciate every day.


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