On average, a physician will interrupt a patient describing her symptoms within eighteen seconds. In that short time, many doctors decide on the likely diagnosis and best treatment. Often, decisions made this way are correct, but at crucial moments they can also be wrong -- with catastrophic consequences. In this myth-shattering book, Jerome Groopman pinpoints the forces and thought processes behind the decisions doctors make. Groopman explores why doctors err and shows when and how they can -- with our help -- avoid snap judgments, embrace uncertainty, communicate effectively, and deploy other skills that can profoundly impact our health. This book is the first to describe in detail the warning signs of erroneous medical thinking and reveal how new technologies may actually hinder accurate diagnoses. How Doctors Think offers direct, intelligent questions patients can ask their doctors to help them get back on track.
Groopman draws on a wealth of research, extensive interviews with some of the countrys best doctors, and his own experiences as a doctor and as a patient. He has learned many of the lessons in this book the hard way, from his own mistakes and from errors his doctors made in treating his own debilitating medical problems.
How Doctors Think reveals a profound new view of twenty-first-century medical practice, giving doctors and patients the vital information they need to make better judgments together.
Anne Dodge had lost count of all the doctors she had seen over the past
fifteen years. She guessed it was close to thirty. Now, two days after
Christmas 2004, on a surprisingly mild morning, she was driving again into
Boston to see yet another physician. Her primary care doctor had opposed
the trip, arguing that Annes problems were so long-standing and so well
defined that this consultation would be useless. But her boyfriend had
stubbornly insisted. Anne told herself the visit would mollify her boyfriend and
she would be back home by midday.
Anne is in her thirties, with sandy brown hair and soft blue eyes. She grew up in a small town in Massachusetts, one of four sisters. No one had had an illness like hers. Around age twenty, she found that food did not agree with her. After a meal, she would feel as if a hand were gripping her stomach and twisting it. The nausea and pain were so intense that occasionally she vomited. Her family ...
In a similar vein to Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, Groopman suggests that if doctors can become more aware of the thinking process that they go through to reach a diagnosis, and in particular to the role that their first impression plays in that process, they can become better diagnosticians. He suggests that patients recognize that "misguided care results from a cascade of cognitive errors", and thus they can help the diagnostic process by presenting their symptoms in such a way that the correct diagnosis can be made.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (696 words).
Jerome Groopman, M.D.,
holds the Dina and Raphael
Recanati Chair of Medicine at
Harvard Medical School and is
chief of experimental medicine
at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical
Center in Boston. He has
published more than 150
scientific articles. He is also
a staff writer at The New Yorker
and has written editorials on
policy issues for the New
Republic, the Washington Post,
and the New York Times.
Dr Groopman has written many articles for The New Yorker, some of which are reprinted ...
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