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Every Patient Tells a Story (2009)

by Lisa Sanders

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4961438,982 (3.81)8
Presents an unflinching look inside the detective story that marks nearly every illness-the diagnosis-revealing the combination of uncertainty and intrigue that doctors face when confronting patients who are sick or dying--from the challenges of the physical exam to the pitfalls of doctor-to-doctor communication, the vagaries of tests, and the near calamity of diagnostic errors.… (more)
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» See also 8 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Fascinating even for a layman, both a dig into impossible medical cases and what it actually means to be a doctor. ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
Absolutely delightful. Taught me to take a different look at my work as a social worker... ( )
  leebill | Apr 30, 2020 |
Less a book about "medical mysteries" and more a treatise on Sanders' philosophy of the patient experience. The main takeaway is value of the physical exam, which Sanders adamantly states cannot be replaced by diagnostic tests. None of this is negative: I thoroughly enjoyed Every Patient Tells a Story. Lisa Sanders is the real-life inspiration of Dr. House; while she shares his Sherlockian traits, she is highly patient-focused. A wonderful airplane read. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
"What the patient brings to the (diagnostic) process is unique: the particular & private facts of his life & illness. And what the physician brings is the knowledge & understanding that will help him order that story so that it makes sense to both the doctor - who uses it to make a diagnosis & the patient - who must then incorporate that subplot to the larger story of his life."

This stood out for me. From bring a healthcare service provider to to the recent experience of being ill, this line aptly sums up the whole experience & has been my guiding personal principle that I adopt in my work.

Leaving the personal front aside, this books makes for light reading, filled with stories of about the diagnostic processes that goes on by doctors. Like detectives, they have to figure out the ills on a patient's body based on clues & guesswork at times.

It brings to mind about the systemic & the intuitive processes that we adopt in out everyday lives.

Really ideal for a light tea or bedtime read. Nothing too mind draining if you are an academic looking for depth though ( )
  Etany | Oct 30, 2016 |
House is one of my favorite shows on tv today so you can imagine how tickled I was to pick up Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis at the library. Lisa Sanders is a consultant for the show and apparently an inspiration ? as well. Sanders was a former tv reporter covering medical news who then went back to school to get her medical degree and she became interested in diagnostics, which is very much like playing detective:

“…what captured my imagination were the stories doctors told about their remarkable diagnoses – mysterious symptoms that were puzzled out and solved”.

In this book, Sanders shares the stories she has come across, whther personally or secondhand. Some of them are rather intriguing, and would definitely fit into an episode of House. She advocates the return of the physical exam, which was once the centre of a diagnosis, but has now been replaced with lab work or diagnostic imaging. She argues that medical students and practicing physicians have lost some skills as a result: learning to listen, learning to feel, learning how to see.

Sanders isn’t the most evocative of writers. While the cases are fascinating, a few days after reading this book, I couldn’t quite remember them anymore. Perhaps I had other things on my mind. Finishing my work for instance, the little one moving around inside of me (one month to go!). I obviously wouldn’t make it as a doctor – in one ear out the other is not a skill one would appreciate in a doctor. At any rate, this was an enjoyable read, which is perhaps odd to say, as this is a book full of sick and dying people. It’s obviously not a comforting read either, as this book makes it all too clear that doctors are human, that they make mistakes, plenty of mistakes, mistakes that could’ve been caught early on.

A good read if you’re interested in how a doctor thinks, and how diagnosis works. Or if you’re just a fan of House! ( )
  RealLifeReading | Jan 19, 2016 |
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Presents an unflinching look inside the detective story that marks nearly every illness-the diagnosis-revealing the combination of uncertainty and intrigue that doctors face when confronting patients who are sick or dying--from the challenges of the physical exam to the pitfalls of doctor-to-doctor communication, the vagaries of tests, and the near calamity of diagnostic errors.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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