• Overkill

  • When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far
  • By: Paul A. Offit
  • Narrated by: Tim H. Dixon
  • Length: 7 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (161 ratings)

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Overkill  By  cover art

Overkill

By: Paul A. Offit
Narrated by: Tim H. Dixon
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Publisher's summary

An acclaimed medical expert and patient advocate offers an eye-opening look at many common and widely used medical interventions that have been shown to be far more harmful than helpful. Yet, surprisingly, despite clear evidence to the contrary, most doctors continue to recommend them.

Modern medicine has significantly advanced in the last few decades as more informed practices, thorough research, and incredible breakthroughs have made it possible to successfully treat and even eradicate many serious ailments. Illnesses that once were a death sentence, such as HIV and certain forms of cancer, can now be managed, allowing those affected to live longer, healthier lives. Because of these advances, we now live 30 years longer than we did 100 years ago.

But while we have learned much in the preceding decades that has changed our outlook and practices, we still rely on medical interventions that are vastly out of date and can adversely affect our health. We all know that finishing the course of antibiotics prevents the recurrence of illness, that sunscreens block harmful UV rays that cause skin cancer, and that all cancer-screening programs save lives. But do scientific studies really back this up? 

In this game-changing book, Dr. Paul A. Offit debunks 15 common medical interventions that have long been considered gospel despite mounting evidence of their adverse effects, from vitamins, sunscreen, fever-reducing medicines, and eyedrops for pink eye to more serious procedures like heart stents and knee surgery. Analyzing how these practices came to be, the biology of what makes them so ineffective and harmful, and the medical culture that continues to promote them, Overkill informs patients to help them advocate for their health. By educating ourselves, we can ask better questions about some of the drugs and surgeries that are all too readily available - and all too heavily promoted.

©2020 Paul A. Offit (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • GS
  • 05-13-20

fascinating

Excellent information, well written, and researched. Complex ideas were explained in easy terms. Gave compelling arguments against commonly accepted medical practices. I completely enjoyed this very informative and helpful book.

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7 people found this helpful

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Easy to understand explanation of medical misuse

Dr Offit’s writing is always excellent. This book continues this tradition. Dr Offit gives a clear and evidence based explanation of things we are doing in modern medicine that we should not be doing. The writing is always clear (unlike most medical writing). The book is interesting all the way through.

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5 people found this helpful

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Ignores contrary research

The author ignores a large amount of research that is contrary to his points and conclusions.

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3 people found this helpful

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Required reading.

I am a physician, and I found this book to be enlightening. I feel like this should be required reading for all medical students. It’s also a great book for consumers of healthcare.

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Excellent: Review of medical issues

The best review of medical issues that involve cognitive fallacies and the harm on medical care and cost. From low T, vitamin D, etc. and various other popular myths. I recommend it highly!

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Fantastic, objective, and current

Great book. Audiobook was well-done. Very useful information, and very up-to-date. Perfect for the lay-person interested in healthcare, but I even learned some things from my own specialty that I wasn’t totally clear on.

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  • 03-26-23

So many aha! moments

Crisp, clear, and highly relevant examples of where various biases have led to bad medical care and patient outcomes. For your own health or your friends and family, a must read to be informed and learn how to think critically about established medical norms.

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Great Physician or Non- Physician Read

Dr. Offit does a great job analyzing peer reviewed studies and trials to help the reader (and patient) see flaws in some of modern medicine. As a non-physician I felt like I was brought along with him on the journey and now have a better understanding of some of the ways medicine can go too far and not only not provide help, but do harm.

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A physicians view

I am so happy this book was written! So many times in modern medicine I think WHAT ?? Every patient and every doctor should read this book

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But that's the way we've always done it…

(As posted in Goodreads)
Patients and doctors are both get so convinced of what they believe is the appropriate choice, because they think it should be right or it just "makes sense" that they are unwilling to accept that "making sense" is not enough, and actual studies have proved that although it seems right, the longtime tradition and "sensible beliefs" are just not the way to treat medicine. We believe in things because we hope that we can improve the results by acting a particular way. After all, many doctors have always done it that way, and studies are simply superfluous to RESULTS! Nevermind that anecdotal results are basically worthless to individual situations, and go far from explaining the entire story.
Clearly, this is not to say that medicine, overall, is worthless. But Dr. Offit helps to illustrate how personal gains and greed, as well as trust in what's always been done, are running and ruining our current medical system.
And we trust in the totally wrong people/treatments! For entirely the wrong reasons! "Well, Linus Pauling DID win two Nobel prizes! He's clearly a smart guy, so we all ought to follow him about vitamin C, nevermind that that's unrelated to his prizes." AND, "there's a blockage in my artery, so we need to stint it. Examining what else might be going on or why is stupid and a waste of time!"
We have been counting on random decisions for years. Paul Offit points out that there has been lots of research done – and lots of pushback against it. Neither physicians nor patients want to believe anything else!

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