How Patients Should Think: 10 Questions on How to Make Better Decisions about Drugs, Tests, and Treatment

Overview

In the heat of the moment, it is difficult to know what to ask our doctor so that we can reach the best possible solution or treatment. How can a doctor know to go through a list of risks, treatments and alternatives if the patient does not ask? This list of ten open-ended questions can help every type of patient get some control over the decisions that affect their help. Covering everything from tests to drugs to lifestyle issues, any or all of these ten questions can guide you to better decisions whether you’ve...
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Overview

In the heat of the moment, it is difficult to know what to ask our doctor so that we can reach the best possible solution or treatment. How can a doctor know to go through a list of risks, treatments and alternatives if the patient does not ask? This list of ten open-ended questions can help every type of patient get some control over the decisions that affect their help. Covering everything from tests to drugs to lifestyle issues, any or all of these ten questions can guide you to better decisions whether you’ve been told you have high cholesterol, your child has an ear infection, or that you need a CAT scan.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Two words sum up the authors' advice to patients: be skeptical. Aussie journalists Moynihan (Too Much Medicine?) and Sweet (coauthor, The Big Fat) try to channel Jerome Groopman's bestselling How Doctors Think but wind up wanting. The writers gamely encourage hard-edged skepticism by offering anecdotes of medical mismanagement along with questions and strategies to aid a patient's decision-making about procedures or medications. "[I]t can be a mistake to sit back and hand over control for our health care," they caution. This is not a new concept, and there's certainly no such thing as too much information, but the authors' assumption that all you have to do is ask the right question to elicit the right answer is troubling. When a practitioner makes a recommendation, it's a safe bet it's already his or her best guess. Still, the simple guide to "what to ask" at the end of each chapter will go far to arm the timid or nervous patient with ammunition to open an honest conversation-and the assurance you're making the most informed decision possible. (June 24)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Australian health journalists Moynihan (Selling Sickness) and Sweet (Inside Madness) here offer a well-researched, informative, and readable investigation into patient health-care interactions, which the authors believe are largely formed by what giant private medical corporations decide to promote or research. Instead, argue the authors, people should make health decisions based on the best evidence available and should be fully informed of a treatment's possible harms as well as benefits. Ten pertinent and focused cases, highlighting instances in which not all the information was shared, are explored in separate chapters with titles like "Do I really have that disorder?" and "Who else is profiting here?" The authors are proposing high-level doctor-patient communication, which may not always be feasible. But more health professionals now welcome proactive patients, and the authors supply practical pointers on approaching such a conversation. Although many references are Australian or British (there is a good reference list), much of the information is nonspecific enough to be beneficial. The amount of detail here will make this book hard going for most lay readers, but health-care professionals and academics should find it useful.
—Elizabeth J. Eastwood

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605980478
  • Publisher: Pegasus
  • Publication date: 7/14/2009
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Ray Moynihan is one of Australia’s leading health writers. He has written for a variety of publications, including the Financial Times, the British Medical Journal, and the New England Journal of Medicine. He lives in Sydney.

Melissa Sweet is one of Australia’s leading health writers. She has written for a variety of publications, including the Financial Times, the British Medical Journal, and the New England Journal of Medicine. She lives in Sydney.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Professor Peter Brooks vii

Introduction: Why you need to ask your doctor some tough questions xi

Questions about your diagnosis

1 Do I really need that test? 3

2 Do I really have that disorder? 22

3 Do I really need to be screened? 41

Questions about your treatment

4 What are my options? 63

5 How well does that treatment work? 80

6 What are the side effects? 100

7 Will this operation really help? 120

Some general questions to consider

8 What is the evidence? 141

9 Who else is profiting here? 165

10 What can I do to help myself? 182

Conclusion: Developing a healthy scepticism 201

Recommended reading 205

Notes 208

Acknowledgements 223

Index 225

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