Harvard doctor Atul Gawande named as 2014 Reith lecturer

Atul Gawande Atul Gawande is an expert on medical error and performance

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Surgeon and writer Atul Gawande will deliver this year's BBC Reith Lectures.

Dr Gawande, a Harvard professor and best-selling author, will give four talks this autumn, grouped under the title 'The Future of Medicine'.

The 48-year-old said he was "flattered and grateful" to be invited to speak in Boston, London, Edinburgh and Delhi.

"I hope to use the lectures to bring together my thinking on how medicine is changing and must change globally," he said in a statement.

Dr Gawande follows on from Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry, who looked at the state of art in the 21st Century in last year's lectures.

His lectures will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service from November.

The first, titled Why do Doctors Fail?, will examine whether failure in medicine is down to ignorance or ineptitude.

It will be followed by The Century of the System, in which Dr Gawande will focus on the development of systems from simple checklists to complex mechanisms.

The third lecture, The Problem of Hubris, will explore aging and death, while the fourth, The Idea of Wellbeing, will argue for a shift in medicine's priorities.

"Atul Gawande is a significant intellectual and practitioner in global health," said Gwyneth Williams, Radio 4's controller.

"I look forward to the opportunity he will surely provide for us to bring our thinking up to date and perhaps to re-evaluate our approach."

The BBC Reith Lectures - named after John Reith, the BBC's first director general - have been held since 1948, the year the philosopher Bertrand Russell spoke on 'Authority and the Individual'.

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