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You Bet Your Life! The 10 Mistakes Every Patient Makes- How to Fix Them to Get the Healthcare You Deserve Paperback – February 1, 2010

4.9 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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About the Author

When Trisha Torrey was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive lymphoma in 2004, she was a marketing consultant who knew almost nothing about healthcare. She was also naive to the dysfunction of the American healthcare system that was tasked with treating her.

Initially Trisha made every mistake a patient could make. But she got smart, fast. She learned that the possibility of excellent care was too easily and frequently eclipsed by miscommunication and mistakes. She also learned that if she didn't stick up for herself, and insist on the help she needed, she would not get it.

Once Trisha put that cancer odyssey behind her, she decided it was up to her to sound the warning bells about the dysfunction, and apply her skills to teaching others how to navigate the dangerous landscape of American healthcare.

Today Trisha calls herself ''Every Patient's Advocate.'' She writes a newspaper column, hosts a weekly health-related talk radio show, guides the About.com website for Patient Empowerment, speaks to groups of patients and professionals, and teaches workshops. She has been quoted by CNN, the Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, NPR, Angie's List Magazine, Bottom Line Publications, and others.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Langdon Street Press; 1 edition (February 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934938882
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934938881
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,974,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dennis Grace on August 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Well, yeah, I guess we are. I tried to go into this book with a critical eye, and since I consider myself a pretty health-care-savvy individual, I was ready to be insulted at being lumped in with every stupid mistake all the rubes make all the time. Well,if you're with me on that self-assured bandwagon, I think we'd better get down and take a closer look at this book.

When I consider each of Trisha Torrey's 10 mistakes honestly, I must admit that at one time or another, over the years, I've made every mistake. More important, the full title of the book (and it's long enough to make Harlan Ellison blink) tells you exactly what you're going to get from the book:

You Bet Your Life! The 10 Mistakes Every Patient Makes--How to Fix Them to Get the Health Care You Deserve.

That "How to Fix Them" is the real important part. This is a clear, easy-to-follow handbook to wending your way through the healthcare jungle. Also, the examples are awesome. Everyone should have this book.

I'm certainly not going to repeat all of Trisha's brilliant advice (she tells you how to do your own differential diagnosis--how cool is that?), but since the latter part of the title is the real meat of the book, I don't think I'm giving much away by telling you what the 10 mistakes are and why I think they really do apply to just about everyone. Now, honestly, look at these and ask yourself which ones you've NEVER made:

1) Thinking your healthcare is focused on you, the patient. Plans for your surgery were so carefully spelled out that it was easy to feel like some kind of VIP. That ends the first time a nurse comes in to check on you and doesn't have the faintest idea why you're there, or when a doctor on rounds picks up your chart and can't make out the instructions.
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Format: Paperback
I admire Trisha Torrey for her spiritual strength and willingness to share a very personal story and transform it into a guide that can keep the reader out a lot of unnecessary misery--or a grave. If you have never suffered major medical crises, reading this book can teach you the mistakes the easy way.

It's too bad I cannot mail this book back in time: I learned about Mistakes #1 and #2 the hard way in 1993. That spring, I went to my university's health clinic after learning that I might have Marfan's syndrome, an uncommon connective-tissue disorder. The nurse looked me over, ordered a chest x-ray, and gave me a clean bill of health after the x-ray showed nothing abnormal. Luckily I did not have Marfan-induced damage to the aorta. Such damage commonly escapes detection on chest x-ray--but still ruptures without warning and kills the patient. Suspicions led me to do some research; I discovered that only an elaborate series of exams and body scans can diagnose or rule out Marfan's syndrome. When I returned to the clinic with this information, the nurse acted more concerned about being right than my health.

Despite being a little wiser about rare medical disorders, I made Mistake #3: Not Confirming Your Diagnosis, later that same year. I ended up being diagnosed at a different clinic with another, less-dangerous connective-tissue disorder. Nice, except it was wrong. I let my feelings of "at least it isn't Marfan's" get in the way even though the new diagnosis left unanswered questions. That mistake turned and bit me in the...um, artery, when I had a stroke-like episode that led me back to the suspicion of Marfan's syndrome. (Cardiovascular manifestations usually occur in one's twenties but can be delayed until the forties in some patients.
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Format: Paperback
Don't send flowers if you have a friend in the hospital. Send "You Bet Your Life" instead! It's the best resource for patient empowerment on the market. I read widely in this field (because of the illness of several close friends and family members), but I have never found a book that "talks turkey" to patients as clearly and knowledgeably as this one does.

Who knew that I might be insulting a doctor if I showed up in his office with a computer print-out? Why didn't I think about the fact that not every "doctor" in a medical office or hospital is a full-fledged M.D.? Or that there could be treatment options a doctor might never mention to me? "You Bet Your Life" taught me all this and more, as well as how to deal with such circumstances. It helped me negotiate the often indifferent, even hostile, U.S. health care system and ensure the best possible care for my loved ones.

The book is very moving, including sad stories about people who suffered and died at the hands of the American healthcare system but also comical quips that made me laugh out loud at Torrey's pungent dissection of the choices we make about our healthcare that simply don't make any sense...

The book is an easy, enjoyable read, providing a wealth of practical tips that you can start to use even before you finish it.

Bedside flowers wither and must eventually be discarded, but you will turn to "You Bet Your Life" again and again for its solidly-researched, immediately-actionable words of wisdom. Highly recommended!
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