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Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis | [Lisa Sanders]

Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis

In Every Patient Tells a Story, Dr. Lisa Sanders takes us bedside to witness the process of solving diagnostic dilemmas, providing a firsthand account of the expertise and intuition that lead a doctor to make the right diagnosis.
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Publisher's Summary

A riveting exploration of the most difficult and important part of what doctors do, by Yale School of Medicine physician Dr. Lisa Sanders. Sanders is the author of the monthly New York Times Magazinecolumn "Diagnosis" - the inspiration for the hit Fox TV series House.

"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 this other world as unknown as it is unexpected. 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?' They want a road map that will help them manage their new surroundings. The ability to give this unnerving and unfamiliar place a name, to know it, on some level, restores a measure of control, independent of whether or not that diagnosis comes attached to a cure. Because, even today, a diagnosis is frequently all a good doctor has to offer."

A healthy young man suddenly loses his memory, making him unable to remember the events of each passing hour. Two patients diagnosed with Lyme disease improve after antibiotic treatment, only to have their symptoms mysteriously return. A young woman lies dying in the ICU - bleeding, jaundiced, incoherent - and none of her doctors know what is killing her.

In Every Patient Tells a Story, Dr. Lisa Sanders takes us bedside to witness the process of solving these and other diagnostic dilemmas, providing a firsthand account of the expertise and intuition that lead a doctor to make the right diagnosis.

©2009 Lisa Sanders; (P)2009 Random House

What the Critics Say

"Readers who enjoy dramatic stories of doctors fighting disease will get their fill, and they will also encounter thoughtful essays on how doctors think and go about their work, and how they might do it better." (Publishers Weekly)
"Besides her own inborn capacity for problem-solving, Sanders' experience as internist, writer, and consultant to House serves her well here, for absorbing anecdotes generously pepper the exposition." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (135 )
5 star
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3.9 (69 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Elizabeth United States 03-21-11
    Elizabeth United States 03-21-11

    hallosev2

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Really good if you can get past the narrator."

    I love Dr. Lisa Sanders' "Diagnosis" column in the NYT Magazine. This is more of the same. But the narrator, and I hate to hurt her feelings, is just so flat that it detracts from the book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan West Palm Beach, FL, United States 10-24-10
    Alan West Palm Beach, FL, United States 10-24-10 Member Since 2001
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    "Painful Voice"

    This would have been an excellent book, but her voice was awful to listen to. I reget that I did not have the patience to listen to the awful sound of narration.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn jackson, WY, United States 09-21-11
    Carolyn jackson, WY, United States 09-21-11 Member Since 2005

    Avid Listener of Audible

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Overall Good but a bit repetitive"

    This audio book was overall very good but the theme became a bit repetitive after a while - Physical Exam, Physical Exam, Physical Exam!. OK, I get it, have your doc perform a physical exam. I will have to say though, that it is a bit disturbing that many doctors do not perform this exam in contrast to your veterinarian who ALWAYS does this. The best part of the book were the stories of diagnostic mysteries of various patients. The reader was the author, which is always a bit scary for me to read as they typically are not professionals; however, she did a really good job.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cassandra Burnie, Australia 03-04-13
    Cassandra Burnie, Australia 03-04-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    6
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting perspectives on the difficult patient"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Definitely, as a nurse I am always interested at examining the patient experience from differing perspectives.


    What did you like best about this story?

    That it was based on actual case studies.


    What aspect of Lisa Sanders’s performance would you have changed?

    I enjoyed her narration.


    Could you see Every Patient Tells a Story being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes it could be done similarly to the autopsy series by Jan Garavalas.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    NASRULLA Springfield Gardens, NY, United States 10-14-12
    NASRULLA Springfield Gardens, NY, United States 10-14-12 Member Since 2010

    Abutaleb

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Unique audiobook"

    It was most interesting to listen to this audiobook.. It has gathered science and stimulating stories.. in a language that can be understood by everybody, regardless of their background, though it may not be that easy for those with non-medical background despite the excellent / admirable simplification exercised by the author in this audiobook.
    I have found the stories very educational and enjoyable even when it uses simple non-medical language..
    I have no hesitation to advise all physicians to listen and benefit from this audiobook stories and ideas..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronda Tucson, AZ, United States 05-11-12
    Ronda Tucson, AZ, United States 05-11-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Make sure this is what you think!"

    If you are looking for a book that is about mysterious diagnoses, be aware, there are only a few examples in this book. The book is about the various methods doctors employ to diagnose. It's really written for doctors, but the author uses lay language, as if the lay person could take the information and somehow apply it to their lives. I found it interesting, but not valuable. The author should have allowed someone else to orate her book. Her raspy voice is hard to listen to some times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Overland Park, KS, United States 10-12-09
    Beth Overland Park, KS, United States 10-12-09 Member Since 2007
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    "Liked it but..."

    I love a medical mystery! It got very frustrating that just as a mystery would start to unfold, the author would repeatedly go way off subject for a long time before finally coming back to the case. Regardless, I enjoyed the book.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    10-02-10
    10-02-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Beating a drum for "Doctor - Patient examination""

    This was very authoritative in its knowledge and research but the author was much too intent to prove the worthiness of examinations done by Doctors. Of course consulting each other about cases and going on the internet is not revolutionary. (I thought that this was all a given?) I don't know who she was trying to convince, herself, or other doctors or the general public? I am sure the general public is all for using everything within the power of the doctor to find out what is wrong with the patient! The audio book would have been a lot more interesting if there were more case studies and less preaching about "good medical practice"!!!

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
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  • Dr.
    Bramley, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "How to be a doctor."

    Having retired from the practice of medicine a year or so ago, the subject of this book is naturally of more than passing interest to me. The author was a journalist who was so attracted by medicine that she quit her job and trained to be a doctor. An impressive feat, and providing her with a mature view of medicine and the tools to express it in easily read prose.



    I understand that much of the book derives from her newspaper column, and that this column was part of the inspiration for the TV series 'House.' The principal point she makes in the book is that medicine has departed from the personal professional model which prevailed until the 1960s and has become a technical scientific process which all too often concentrates more on the patient's test results while ignoring the patient.



    Well this is something which I have felt throughout my medical career. Indeed I remember a joke which was current in my undergraduate days about American ward rounds. It was said that the ward round would take place in a room off the ward where the patient's biochemical, haematological and pathological test results were presented and discussed. If at the end of this process no firm conclusion on the diagnosis or management of the case could be reached the senior clinician would say, 'Well all the tests are inconclusive, I suppose we'd better go and see the patient.'



    I am happy to say that in my day we could see the error in this approach. A famous Canadian Physician, Sir William Osler (1849-1919) was the founder of patient centred medicine, and famously said, 'Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis.' This was true then and remains so. This book is a valuable reminder of this.



    The author narrates it herself, and I find her delivery a little wearing. That may just be me, she is a well-respected broadcaster in her own country. I find the points made in the book somewhat repetitive, and I think it would have benefited from a little more aggressive editing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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