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How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America Hardcover – January 31, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312672977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312672973
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #378,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“My friend and colleague Otis Brawley has written a raw and honest portrayal of our health care system. There are certain to be special interest organizations and medical groups that take issue with Dr.Brawley's conclusions, but few can argue with the scientific rigor he has demonstrated in writing this book. Otis is the go- to oncologist I send so many patients to see, because he is not only a great doctor, but also a compassionate man. As we discuss the transformation of health care in this country, put Dr. Brawley's book at the top of your list.”-Sanjay Gupta, Associate Chief of Neurosurgery Grady Memorial Hospital, Chief Medical Correspondent, CNN

“Otis Brawley is one of America’s truly outstanding physician scientists.  In How We Do Harm, he challenges all of us-- physicians, patients, and communities-- to recommit ourselves to the pledge to 'do no harm.'”-David Satcher,Former Surgeon General of the United States, Director, Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine

“Sweeping, honest and brave . . . How We Do Harm dazzles with a wealth of  scientific insight, but its genius lies in the author’s recounting of individual patient stories that illuminate the dark underbelly of medicine’s missteps. Brawley does not shrink from revealing medicine’s warts, butthis book  offers much more. It is a  triumph of humanity and clarity in which oncology becomes a Rorschach for the practice of American medicine. You will finish this arresting book reluctantly, with a new appreciation of what American medicine could be.”-Harriet A .Washington, author of Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself and the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future and Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present

“Dr. Brawley is a premier academic oncologist and a minority doctor in the nation's largest inner city hospital. How We Do Harm places in stark contrast the health care resources available to the rich and the poor, the insured and the uninsured, the white community and the community of color . He makes  the  cogent  point that more testing, screening, and interventions available to the rich does not always  mean better medical care .”-Bruce Chabner, MD, Director of Clinical Research, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center

“Otis Brawley shares in equal measure his compelling personal story, the development of modern medical oncology, and the wide range of his strong opinions.  Whether you agree with him or not, the reader is given access to Dr. Brawley’s unambiguous scientific and ethical framework.  He provides an anvil for shaping your own perspectives and biases.”-Michael A. Friedman, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Director Comprehensive Cancer Center, City of Hope

“A tough-minded, solidly argued indictment of health care. . . Brawley’s sense of outrage is palpable.” -The Boston Globe

"A powerful contribution to the ongoing discussion on health-care reform.”-Kirkus

This book is shockingly detailed and it should serve as a wake-up call to fix the dismal mess and rethink the politics of illness in America. Dr. Brawley provides a well-reasoned manifesto for change.”-Tucson Citizen


“Any who want to know how behind-the scenes healthcare works will find this a key title." –Midwest Book Review

About the Author

DR. OTIS BRAWLEY is the chief medical and scientific officer and executive vice president of the American Cancer Society. Dr. Brawley currently serves as professor of hematology, oncology, medicine and epidemiology at Emory University. He is also a CNN medical consultant. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine, and completed a residency in internal medicine at University Hospitals of Cleveland, Case-Western Reserve University, and a fellowship in medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute.

PAUL GOLDBERG is an award-winning investigative reporter who covers oncology for The Cancer Letter, a weekly publication focused on drug development and the politics of cancer. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Washington Monthly and he has been featured on 60 Minutes, 20/20, CNN and NPR. Goldberg is also the author of two books on the Soviet human rights movement.


More About the Author

Otis Webb Brawley, M.D.


As the chief medical and scientific officer and executive vice president of the American Cancer Society, Otis Brawley, MD, is responsible for promoting the goals of cancer prevention, early detection, and quality treatment through cancer research and education.

Dr. Brawley currently serves as professor of hematology, oncology, medicine and epidemiology at Emory University. He is also a medical consultant to the Cable News Network (CNN). Currently a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection and Control Advisory Committee, he served as a member of the Food and Drug Administration Oncologic Drug Advisory Committee and has co-chaired the U.S. Surgeon General's Task Force on Cancer Health Disparities.

He is listed by Castle Connelly as one of America's Top Doctors for Cancer. Among other awards, he was a Georgia Cancer Coalition Scholar and received the Key to St. Bernard Parish for his work in the U.S. Public Health Service in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Dr. Brawley is a graduate of University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine. He completed a residency in internal medicine at University Hospitals of Cleveland, Case-Western Reserve University, and a fellowship in medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute.

Customer Reviews

Dr. Brawley has a great writing style, making this book easy reading.
Sandra Harvey
I highly recommend reading this book before you have a health crisis in your family.
Daniel
I would say this is a must read for anyone that might get or who has cancer.
jwt99

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

142 of 149 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on January 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover
First, a few words on Dr. Otis Brawley and my bias - he's the Chief Medical Officer for the American Cancer Society, Professor of Medicine at Emory University, and a CNN medical consultant. As for my bias, after reading his book and bio, I would trust him to give me the best medical recommendations. I wish I lived closer so he could be my physician - I'm really impressed!

'First, do no harm' is the first precept of medical ethics taught in medical school 'How We Do Harm' is Dr. Brawley's description of the real world, of how medical practice deviates from that basic ethic. The bulk of the book consists of anecdotal examples that he has become aware of.

Dr. Brawley begins by comparing how much America spends on health care vs. other nations. We're now at 18% of GDP, and Switzerland is #2 - at 12%, obviously much lower. We spend 3.5X as much on health care as on food. Canadians spend half what we do, and are ranked #7 in life expectancy. We're #50. More is not better - in fact, American health care is making our nation sick, in an economic sense.

Many health care providers allege that they're financially short-changed by Medicare and Medicaid; others contend that the relatively low reimbursement rates of those programs is a form of 'cost-shifting' that raises rates for others. Dr. Brawley, however, states that providers can still make money at those reduced rates treating complex cases involving uncontrolled diabetes, kidney failure, heart disease, and late-stage cancer.

As for Tea Party allegations of ObamaCare medical rationing, per 'Death Panels', Dr. Brawley says this is already happening - via insurance companies. Yet, irrational spending is still rampant.
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73 of 75 people found the following review helpful By jwt99 on February 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I could not put this book down. I would say this is a must read for anyone that might get or who has cancer. Also anyone who has a chronic health problem should put this book in their library.

I think Dr. Brawley gives compelling examples that illustrate how our health care systen is broken.

Read this book!

This is an excellent book unless you are a quack, a greed driven doctor or drug rep. Dr.Brawley points out that we should not waste valiable tax money or even insurance money on unproven cures or on drugs that cost 10-20 times as much as a proven drug. All medical care should be research based, rational and above all "do no harm".

I hate to tell you this, but we as a country cannot afford to waste massive amounts of money anymore. If we don't get serious about health care it will break the country. We cannot afford to transfer wealth to quack doctors or for procedures that don't work. A spinal fusion costs about $80,000 yet 80% of the research says it does no good and it does a lot of harm. Is this any way to run a health care system?

If you don't believe Dr. Brawley read the research for yourself.

Use a little of your time to dig and see if he is telling the truth.

A lot of the raw research is locked up tight and hard to access and not easy for a lay person to understand. We must rely on honest doctors like Dr. Brawley to tell us the truth about our healthcare system

The chapters on the "PSA" test for prostate cancer were shocking to say the least.

All the examples about the breast cancer problems are on point.
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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Kara S. Croker on February 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. Brawley (excuse me, Otis) has written a book about the kind of things doctors say to each other, but not out loud and certainly not for publication. The contrast of healthcare for the overprivileged to the lack of care for the underserved (and the sea of confusion for those in-between) should not exist in the United States, and yet it does. That so much of this happens in the care of people with cancer is really unforgivable. Many will be unhappy with the author, but many more will have to agree that he is indeed telling the truth -- and doing so in a way that is compulsively readable. Otis knows how to get your attention and weave a tale that points out the things you should be seeing. He does not claim to have the answers and is free with admitting his own missteps along the way. I already sent a copy to my niece who is a 2nd year resident at an inner-city hospital and told her to be sure to pass it around once she has read it.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Archer on January 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading about "How We Do Harm" on line, I had to read the book. Every American voter concerned about the real state of American medicine needs to read Dr. Brawley's moving descriptions of his struggles to deliver the best care to his critically ill patients. I literally could not put it down. Do I have all the answers now to a complex problem? Far from it, but Dr. Brawley has definitely added compelling arguments to the debate that more isn't always better, and throwing money isn't always a solution. Having lost my own mother to breast cancer in circumstances close to those he describes, I am all too ready to concede that the patient can suffer from too much care as much as from too little, especially when the treatments are experimental and do nothing to prolong life, or quality of life. The voices of doctors need to be heard as loudly as politicians, and Dr. Brawley's patients provide examples that are both haunting and inspiring.
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