Books Sandwiched In welcomes Dr. Annette Mendola
Join Dr. Annette Mendola for a discussion of Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande on Wednesday, June 22 at noon in the East Tennessee History Center auditorium.
Dr. Mendola comments, "When we think about being mortal, we tend to think mainly about the inevitability of death. Atul Gawande’s book Being Mortal certainly deals with that topic adroitly. But what is more remarkable about this book is the deft way he discusses another aspect of mortality: human finitude. We don’t just go about our lives and then evaporate; most of us have a longish phase at the end of our lives that is marked by loss. These losses—of abilities, of independence, of memory, of social connections—are perhaps more fearsome than death itself.
"Another important theme in this book concerns the role of medicine vis-à-vis mortality. We tend to achieve that which we pursue, and the American healthcare system has ardently pursued heroic, lifesaving technologies. It has been less invested in helping people preserve the things that matter most to them in life, such as mobility, relationships, meaningful activity, and being at home. Gawande encourages us to question the way medicine is produced and consumed, and to ask ourselves what we really want from healthcare."
Dr. Mendola’s experience as a nurses’ aide during high school and later on the inpatient psychiatric floor of a small county hospital naturally led to her interest in end-of-life issues and medical ethics. Prior to her current tenure as Director of Clinical Ethics at UT Medical Center, she was a lecturer in the Philosophy Department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Dr. Mendola was born and raised in Buffalo, New York before coming to Knoxville in 1993. She is married to Dr. John Nolt and together they have three adult children.