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Making a diagnosis is a doctor’s most challenging and crucial task. Most of the time, a physical examination and routine tests provide what’s needed to begin a course of treatment. But sometimes the symptoms are deceptive, tests are misleading, and obvious treatment options prove woefully inadequate. In Diagnosis Dr. Lisa Sanders tells the true stories of doctors facing complex medical mysteries to illustrate the art and science of diagnosis.
A healthy young man complains of memory loss so severe that he can’t remember the events of the last hour. A young woman lies dying in ICU and no one knows what is killing her. What does a doctor do when the patient profile says one thing and the tests say another? As Sanders describes the process of solving these and other diagnostic dilemmas, she provides a firsthand view of the combination of expertise and intuition that results in accurate diagnosis, while portraying how knowing medicine is essential but not sufficient to unravel the complexities of illness.
"Lisa Sanders is a paragon of the modern medical detective storyteller. The tales here crackle with suspense. But what sets her apart is her Holmes-like eye for the clues–and her un-Holmes-like compassion for those who suffer."
—Atul Gawande, author of Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance and Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science
"Dr. Lisa Sanders is the most acute observer of health care in America. In this compelling book, she opens the black box of diagnosis and lets us look inside."
—Ian Ayers, author of Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-by-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart
"Not ‘whodunit’ so much as ‘whatdunit,’ Lisa Sanders’ s book brilliantly conveys the sleuthing that lies at the heart of medical diagnosis. But this is more than a set of suspenseful tales unfolded by a skilled storyteller. Amid all the flash and dazzle of the modern doctor’s high-tech armamentarium, Dr. Sanders finds that all too often it is the ancient skills, of touch and of attentive listening, that serve the physician, and her patients, best of all. Enlightening for patients, essential for practitioners, this book should be read by every doctor. I’m praying that mine will."
—Geraldine Brooks, author of March, People of the Book, and Nine Parts of Desire
"Lisa Sanders has written a beautiful, thought-provoking book about the sine qua non of medical care–diagnosis. She tells stories about great diagnostic triumphs and explains both the pitfalls and successes of diagnosis. Her patient stories captivate the reader as we try to solve the unfolding mystery. Through these stories we understand and remember the importance of accurate diagnosis."
—Robert Centor, MedRants.com
"Every Patient Tells a Story is a must-read for anyone who has ever been a patient or is a doctor. Written by a physician I respect and a writer I love, the book is filled with intriguing diagnostic dilemmas that will draw you in, and with human stories that will linger in your mind–and heart–long after you are done."
—Pauline W. Chen, author of Final Exam