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Every Patient Tells a Story Hardcover – August 11, 2009
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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Sanders approaches these issues from a very personal standpoint, relating in individual case studies the thoughts and emotions of both the doctors and the patients, even stories from her own personal arsenal. But most importantly, she does a stellar job at pointing out how modern medicine is a game of statistics, and some people are bound to fall on the wrong side of the coin flip. Even with a slough of biochemical and imaging tests and studies, we simply do not know everything.
The value of this book lies in the questions it asks of both the medical profession and future patients. To the profession, it asks what might be done to not only improve diagnostic tests and techniques but also how to communicate medicine's limitations to the public. And to the patient, it asks for patience in a profession that is still young and going through growing pains, but to also trust physicians in their abilities.
My one negative comment concerns the last section of the book that discusses Lyme Disease. Dr. Sanders obviously has a significant agenda and treats this section greatly different than the former. She begins with a personal story but spends several chapters on the history and development of Lyme Disease and the controversial "chronic Lyme" diagnosis. While entirely interesting from a historical perspective, it lies beyond the intended scope of the book and carries the character of a major soapbox rather than an exposition on diagnosis. It would have been better (in my opinion) to have devoted these pages to multiple controversial diagnoses, comparing ones that have been refuted (like hysteria) to ones that have been confirmed (like the carcinogenic effects of tobacco).
Nevertheless, this book should be read by anyone who might be a patient or medical professional one day--which would be everyone. Nobody is perfect, and Dr. Sanders points out that medicine is no different. However, the implication is that we all want to be--and can be--better. It just takes a little work.
Having trained in the 60's and 70's and practicing for 32 years in a third world country it was refreshing to see an emphasis on listening to the patients story and then examining the patient. Having returned to the US in 2005 it's alarming to observed the lack of history and physical examinations. Depending on test as the first line of discovering the diagnosis and subsequent treatment is negligent.
A friend with chest discomfort was evaluated by a cardiologist and after doing an angiogram which was normal decided that the patient need a psychiatric evaluation. Listening to the patient's story resulted in a diagnosis of reflux esophagitis which was proven by by endoscopy.
Another one of my friends was evaluated by an internist and suspected reflux diseased and ordered an endoscopy. After listening to her story I told her to go back an order an Ultrasound of her gall bladder because of multiple stones which were passing through the common duct.
Thanks for writing such an informative and entertaining book!!!
Note that every style has an audience. For me this style was great. The stories spanned large sections of the book and moves in and out of story and back-story and side-story seamlessly. However, some people may find that difficult to keep up or too much story per page or a bit drawn out. I recommend you read a sample of this book to see if the writting style fits you. If it does, you're in for a treat.
Review of hard-copy not kindle nor audio. You'll find your experiences slightly different.