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Monday, May 24, 2010

Every Patient Tells a Story by Lisa Sanders, 2009, * * * *

A riveting exploration of the most difficult and important part of what doctors do, by Yale School of Medicine physician Dr. Lisa Sanders, author of the monthly New York Times Magazine column "Diagnosis," and the inspiration for the hit Fox TV series House, M.D.  for which she currently serves as a consultant  The experience of being ill can be like waking up in a foreign country. Life, as you formerly knew it, is on hold while you travel through another world as unknown as it is unexpected. Patients want a road map that will help them manage their new surroundings. "When I see patients in the hospital or in my office who are suddenly, surprisingly ill, what they really want to know is, ‘What is wrong with me?’" The ability to give this unfamiliar place a name, restores a measure of control, independent of whether or not that diagnosis comes attached to a cure. In Every Patient Tells a Story,  Never in human history have doctors had the knowledge, the tools, and the skills that they have today to diagnose illness and disease. Yet mistakes are still made, diagnoses missed, and symptoms or tests are misunderstood.  Through dramatic stories of patients with baffling symptoms, Sanders portrays the absolute necessity and surprising difficulties of understanding the patient’s story, the challenges of  a good history & physical;  the pitfalls of doctor-to-doctor communication, the vagaries of tests, and the near calamity of diagnostic errors. Dr. Sanders chronicles the real-life drama of doctors solving these difficult medical mysteries while illustratating the art and the science of diagnosis.

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