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The Life You Save: Nine Steps to Finding the Best Medical Care—and Avoiding the Worst Paperback – July 7, 2009


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The Life You Save: Nine Steps to Finding the Best Medical Care—and Avoiding the Worst + The Take-Charge Patient: How You Can Get the Best Medical Care + The Empowered Patient: How to Get the Right Diagnosis, Buy the Cheapest Drugs, Beat Your Insurance Company, and Get the Best Medical Care Every Time
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books; 1 Original edition (July 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738213047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738213040
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,087,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Robert M. Wachter, MD, Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, author of Internal Bleeding and Understanding Patient Safety
“Our healthcare system cures, but it also kills. This book thoughtfully chronicles the harm that can result from medical errors and poor quality care, and—most importantly—arms patients with information that will help them and their loved ones avoid becoming a victim. Read it, and stay safe.”

Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews
“As a broadcast journalist, I know the vital importance of checking facts. As Patrick Malone teaches us in his great new book, nothing can be more important than checking the facts about your own health. It’s a matter of life and death.”

Sidney Wolfe, MD; Editor, Worstpills.org; Director, Health Research Group at Public Citizen
“Patrick Malone has compiled a remarkably well-researched set of you-cannot-afford-not-to steps to take, aided by a series of life- saving checklists of questions patients need to ask, that can make the difference between getting excellent medical care or becoming a victim of impaired health, or even death, from much worse care. Doctors and other health professionals make mistakes too often to justify a false sense of security. This important book teaches patients and their families how to catch them before they cause injury or death.”

Sorrel King, The Josie King Foundation
“Patrick Malone has written a book that really could save a life. With his moving real life stories and his brilliant advice this book is a must-read for anyone who cares about their health and well-being.”

Joan Claybrook, former President of Public Citizen
“This highly practical book guides you through the essential steps for maintaining your health and avoiding medical mistakes. An invaluable resource!”

Nancy Conrad, Founder and Chairman of the Conrad Foundation
“Patrick Malone has what Pete Conrad would call ‘The Right Stuff.’ We owe him a debt of gratitude for focusing a beam of light on saving lives.”

Library Journal
“Verdict: A thorough and up-to-date addition to patient-empowerment literature; recommended for readers interested in health, consumer, and legal issues.”

Living Without, January 2010
“[O]ne of the most important books you’ll read this year.”

Review

Robert M. Wachter, MD, Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, author of Internal Bleeding and Understanding Patient Safety
“Our healthcare system cures, but it also kills. This book thoughtfully chronicles the harm that can result from medical errors and poor quality care, and—most importantly—arms patients with information that will help them and their loved ones avoid becoming a victim. Read it, and stay safe.”

Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews
“As a broadcast journalist, I know the vital importance of checking facts. As Patrick Malone teaches us in his great new book, nothing can be more important than checking the facts about your own health. It’s a matter of life and death.”

Sidney Wolfe, MD; Editor, Worstpills.org; Director, Health Research Group at Public Citizen
“Patrick Malone has compiled a remarkably well-researched set of you-cannot-afford-not-to steps to take, aided by a series of life- saving checklists of questions patients need to ask, that can make the difference between getting excellent medical care or becoming a victim of impaired health, or even death, from much worse care. Doctors and other health professionals make mistakes too often to justify a false sense of security. This important book teaches patients and their families how to catch them before they cause injury or death.”

Sorrel King, The Josie King Foundation
“Patrick Malone has written a book that really could save a life. With his moving real life stories and his brilliant advice this book is a must-read for anyone who cares about their health and well-being.”

Joan Claybrook, former President of Public Citizen
“This highly practical book guides you through the essential steps for maintaining your health and avoiding medical mistakes. An invaluable resource!”

Nancy Conrad, Founder and Chairman of the Conrad Foundation
“Patrick Malone has what Pete Conrad would call ‘The Right Stuff.’ We owe him a debt of gratitude for focusing a beam of light on saving lives.”

Library Journal
“Verdict: A thorough and up-to-date addition to patient-empowerment literature; recommended for readers interested in health, consumer, and legal issues.”

Living Without, January 2010
“[O]ne of the most important books you’ll read this year.”

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Patrick Malone is a leading patient safety advocate and medical malpractice attorney, based in Washington, D.C. He was born in 1951 and grew up in an Irish Catholic family in Wichita, Kansas, the oldest of seven children. He worked as a medical writer and investigative reporter for the Miami Herald before attending Yale Law School. At Yale, Malone won several student awards, including best "moot court" argument. He worked for a year after graduating for a prominent federal judge, U.S. District Judge Gerhard Gesell in Washington, D.C. In 1985, he began his career as an attorney representing seriously injured people. He is a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and was named to the Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America and the Irish Legal 100. He and his wife Vicki have three sons. They live in Chevy Chase, Maryland. One experience that has brought Mr. Malone closer to his clients' disabilities is his own work raising his autistic son Brendan. His story about Brendan appears as Chapter One in the book, "Up All Night: Practical Wisdom from Mothers and Fathers," a collection of essays by parents at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Washington, D.C. More information about Mr. Malone's law career is on his firm's web site: http://www.patrickmalonelaw.com.

Customer Reviews

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Malone wants it stopped, and this book can be a major way to stop it.
Amazon Customer
In several instances Pat Malone's system has certainly prevented them and their loved ones from significant problems.
J. A. Thomson Jr. MD
In fact, a strong point of the entire book is that it helps us find information on the web.
John T. James

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Thomson Jr. MD on July 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a physician, I strongly recommend that anyone should read and own this book who will visit a doctor, go to an emergency room, be in a hospital, see a specialist, undergo surgery or in any way interact with the health care system personally or on behalf of a family member. So that means everybody. Since this reviewer went to medical school in the 1970's we have had extraordinary and spectacular innovations in medicine. But this explosion in knowledge and skill carries downsides. The probability of error or simply receiving mediocre care increases.

How does any prospective patient find optimal care and avoid the risks of poor outcome or harm? Patrick Malone provides all of us a road map to secure for ourselves and our loved ones the best available primary care providers, specialists, surgeons, hospitals, and standards of practice within a health care system that will grow only more complicated, both for good and ill.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David O. Stewart on July 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
Pat Malone started out exposing medical blunders for the Miami Herald, then became a patients' lawyer making doctors and hospitals pay for their mistakes. Now he has written a terrific guide to help people avoid some of those appalling mistakes and their miserable consequences. This is not an exercise in "first, kill all the doctors." Rather, it is a recognition that health care providers are mortal -- sometimes distracted or tired, sometimes not well-informed about a particular patient's problem. Malone strikes a neat balance in this well-written volume. From his own cases, he offers enough heart-breaking stories of medical whiffs to motivate even the most sluggardly patient. But he mostly provides a series of crisp, sensible steps that patients should take to protect themselves by making sure they have the right doctor or hospital, that the doctor has heard what the problem really is, that diagnoses and drug regimens make sense, and that health care providers are following sound protocols.

If you have ever gotten sick, or think you might in the future, this book is worth a close look.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William Lazarus on June 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
With an engaging style and poignant stories, Patrick Malone explains simple steps one can take to obtain excellent medical care, and avoid the many pitfalls of our medical system. In addition to being a fine read, Malone's book is filled with invaluable practical recommendations, within reach of practically all readers. People can obtain their own medical records and test results, and those records often point to flaws in care, or at least point to issues that need to be probed. Everyone can make a list of their questions, and take them to their doctor's office on the next appointment. Everyone can work to insure that their own primary care physician is at least kept in the loop in the ordering of specialty care -- a step that can help avoid unnecessary, sometimes troubled tangents.

Malone brings to his book decades of experience as an attorney representing people who have suffered serious injury as the result of medical negligence and, previously, as a newspaper reporter dedicated to exposing achievements and failures of American medicine. His background shows in the readability, depth, and intelligence of The Life You Save: Nine Steps to Finding the Best Medical Care -- and Avoiding the Worst.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. Pfister on June 16, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My father died less than 6 months ago due to complications from an elective knee surgery. Since I'm a healthcare professional I knew "bad things could happen" but even I was appalled at the number and severity of the medical errors. I sure wish I knew a year ago what I know NOW, but with this book I have the tools to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else I love.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John T. James on January 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is an exceptional book written by a Washington, D.C lawyer who has prosecuted many malpractice cases. From his decades of insight into what leads to malpractice and harm to patients, he has developed thoughtful ideas on how all Americans can avoid outcomes like those his clients have experienced. His writing flows easily from principles to examples, ending with what he calls "Lifesavers" posted in gray boxes at the end of most chapters.
Frankly, I wish I had known the steps Mr. Malone describes when my son was being treated by his careless cardiologists several years ago. Perhaps then I would be awaiting his return home for Christmas instead of taking my tears to a cemetery once again this Christmas. Do not suppose that the worst medical care will not happen to you or someone you love.
The author clearly "gets it" about the risk you face: "Medical catastrophes have been documented to so pervade the American healthcare system that a realistic risk of needless death or serious injury confronts every family in the United States at some point." The author squarely faces this reality, asserting that one must "take charge of their own health care and not merely turn their bodies over to an impersonal and broken medical industry."
The reader enjoys a journey of enlightenment and tragedy as the nine "necessary" steps emerge from this lawyer's experience: get your medical records, talk effectively to your doctor, find an excellent primary-care doctor, beware of drugs, understand the limitations of medical testing and get second opinions, carefully choose to have surgery, have an advocate with you at critical times, find a good hospital, and take responsibility for management of your chronic diseases.
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