Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for You

Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for You

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by Jerome Groopman, Pamela Hartzband, MD Pamela
     
 

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The essential tools for making our own best medical decisions, cutting through the confusion caused by the health-care system, the media, and gaps in our own reasoning.

Making the right medical choices is harder than ever. Whether we're deciding to take a cholesterol drug or choosing a cancer treatment, we are overwhelmed by information from all

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Overview

The essential tools for making our own best medical decisions, cutting through the confusion caused by the health-care system, the media, and gaps in our own reasoning.

Making the right medical choices is harder than ever. Whether we're deciding to take a cholesterol drug or choosing a cancer treatment, we are overwhelmed by information from all sides: our doctors' recommendations, dissenting expert opinions, confusing statistics, conflicting media reports, the advice of friends, claims on the Internet, and a never-ending stream of drug company ads. Your Medical Mind shows us how to chart a clear path through this sea of confusion.

Drs. Groopman and Hartzband reveal that each of us has a set of deeply rooted beliefs whose profound influence we may not realize when we make medical decisions. How much trust we place in authority figures, in statistics, or in other patients' stories, in science and technology or in natural healing, and whether we seek the most or the least treatment-all are key factors that shape our choices. Recognizing our preferences and the external factors that might lead our thinking astray can make a dramatic, even lifesaving, difference in our medical decision making. When conflicting information pulls us back and forth between options, when we feel pressured by doctors or loved ones to make a particular choice, or when we have no previous experience to guide us through a crisis, The Patient Decides will prove an essential companion.

The authors interviewed scores of patients who have struggled with situations such as these. They also drew on research and insights from doctors, psychologists, economists, and other experts to help reveal the array of forces that can aid or impede our thinking. They show us the subtle strategies drug advertisers use to influence our choices: they unveil the extreme-sometimes dangerously misleading-power of both narratives and statistics. And they help us understand how to improve upon a universal human shortcoming- assessing the future impact of the decisions we make now.

Jerome Groopman, a New Yorker writer and bestselling author, is an oncologist who guides his patients through life-or-death decisions. Pamela Hartzband is a noted endocrinologist and educator at Harvard Medical School who helps patients make critical decisions about their long-term health. As patients, the authors have very different preferences, yet they are united when conveying the book's groundbreaking message: we can cut through the confusion and arrive at decisions that serve us best.



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Editorial Reviews

Daniel J. Levitin
Your Medical Mind, a kind of sequel to Groopman's 2007 best seller, How Doctors Think, aims to empower patients to become active participants, indeed negotiators, in decisions about their health care…I suspect insurance companies, H.M.O.'s and more than a few doctors are going to hate this book…Groopman and Hartzband understand our psychological need for first-person stories, illustrating their statistical points with vivid case histories, including their own…You'll close the book with an entirely new attitude and set of tools for making medical decisions.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
Groopman proved himself an exceptional guide to the inner workings of the doctor's mind in his bestselling How Doctors Think. Now he and Hartzband, his wife and colleague at Harvard Medical School, get inside the patient's mind. The result is a chronicle of how ordinary people, landing at a medical crossroads, must decide about care, who should provide it, and for how long. They present tales of patients who must face conflicting information or uncertain outcomes and choose a course of action: a consultant finds his usual "objective” reasoning doesn't apply to the decision to undergo a bone-marrow transplant with possibly debilitating side effects; and a dying woman's change of mind about end-of-life care illustrates how unpredictable our response to death can be. The authors also illustrate the toll illness takes on a patients' loved ones as they strive to make decisions for incapacitated relatives. There are no easy answers here, no prescriptions for the "right” decision, but rather an illuminating look at how different people think about their options and the emotions and experiences that help shape their decisions. This remarkable survey can help make the uncertainty of illness and treatment seem just a bit more manageable and less lonely.(Sept.)
Daniel Gilbert
 “This important and riveting book could change—and perhaps even save—your life.”
Sherwin Nuland
“Bringing the deep sensitivity and outstanding clinical skill that characterize all of his writings, Jerome Groopman has joined forces with Pamela Hartzband to bring us a message of wisdom and far-ranging importance. The complexities that face any patient in making personal medical decisions are here described, analyzed and clarified by two master physicians, who guide us with empathy, sincere caring and wide experience.”
 
From the Publisher
"You’ll close the book with an entirely new attitude and set of tools for making medical decisions… Groopman and Hartzband’s important book will help doctor and patient learn how each of us navigates our own tolerance for risk, thus improving outcomes on both sides of the examination table." — THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW (Daniel J. Levitin)

Your Medical Mind is a welcome and overdue comprehensive exploration of the patient’s perspective as he or she navigates the dizzying array of choices modern medicine presents.” — BOSTON GLOBE

“Part psychological study and part self-help book, Your Medical Mind doesn't provide answers but, rather, insights into navigating the increasingly daunting and dysfunctional world of medicine.” — NPR.org

“A welcome guide for those who are daunted by the choices they face, ranging from taking a cholesterol-lowering drug to making end-of-life decisions for a loved one.” — WALL STREET JOURNAL

 “This important and riveting book could change—and perhaps even save—your life.”

Daniel Gilbert, author of STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS

“Bringing the deep sensitivity and outstanding clinical skill that characterize all of his writings, Jerome Groopman has joined forces with Pamela Hartzband to bring us a message of wisdom and far-ranging importance. The complexities that face any patient in making personal medical decisions are here described, analyzed and clarified by two master physicians, who guide us with empathy, sincere caring and wide experience.”

Sherwin Nuland, author of HOW WE DIE

BOSTON GLOBE
Your Medical Mind is a welcome and overdue comprehensive exploration of the patient’s perspective as he or she navigates the dizzying array of choices modern medicine presents.”
NPR.org
“Part psychological study and part self-help book, Your Medical Mind doesn't provide answers but, rather, insights into navigating the increasingly daunting and dysfunctional world of medicine.”
WALL STREET JOURNAL
“A welcome guide for those who are daunted by the choices they face, ranging from taking a cholesterol-lowering drug to making end-of-life decisions for a loved one.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW (Daniel J. Levitin)
"You’ll close the book with an entirely new attitude and set of tools for making medical decisions… Groopman and Hartzband’s important book will help doctor and patient learn how each of us navigates our own tolerance for risk, thus improving outcomes on both sides of the examination table."

Boston Globe
Your Medical Mind is a welcome and overdue comprehensive exploration of the patient’s perspective as he or she navigates the dizzying array of choices modern medicine presents.
Library Journal
New Yorker staff writer, New York Times best-selling author, and oncologist Groopman (Harvard Medical Sch.; How Doctors Think) and endocrinologist Hartzband (Harvard Medical Sch.) present readers with a fascinating look into medical decision making. Through detailed portraits of socially and ethnically diverse real-life individuals who must make medical choices, the authors show how patients' family history, culture, profession, and attitudes toward medicine and technology can shape their decisions about treatment. The book's liberal use of stories and detailed description makes for richer insights than can be gleaned from the short, stylized cases that fill many books on medical ethics. The authors' approach also reveals how medical decision making and patient preferences can change over time. VERDICT This engaging, insightful, and illuminating book should be read by general audiences as well as medical and health-care professionals, who are often baffled by the choices their patients make.—Aaron Klink, Duke Univ., Durham, NC

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101547823
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/20/2011
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
511,160
File size:
0 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Jonathan Alter
"For anything that ails us--from high cholesterol to cancer--treatment options usually fall into a frustrating "gray area."Groopman and Hartzband provide a brilliant guide to navigating some of the most important decisions of our lives." --(Jonathan Alter, author of The Promise: President Obama, Year One, columnist at Bloomberg View)
Dan Ariely
"Groopman and Hartzband have done a remarkable job at dissecting the external and internal factors that influence our healthcare decisions. This book should be required reading for doctors and patients alike."--(Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality, Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University)
Daniel Gilbert
"This important and riveting book could change—and perhaps even save—your life."--(Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University)
Sherwin B. Nuland
"Bringing the deep sensitivity and outstanding clinical skill that characterize all of his writings, Jerome Groopman has joined forces with Pamela Hartzband to bring us a message of wisdom and far-ranging importance. The complexities that face any patient in making personal medical decisions are here described, analyzed and clarified by two master physicians, who guide us with empathy, sincere caring and wide experience." --(Sherwin Nuland, author of How We Die: Reflections On Life's Final Chapter; Lecturer in Yale College and Retired Clinical Professor of Surgery.)
Ron Chernow
"At a time when health insurers, pharmaceutical companies, and government bureaucrats seek to find magical solutions in metrics and standardized care, Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband remind us that medicine is a profoundly human---and hence inevitably complex---enterprise. By elucidating the often subtle and varied ways that patients make decisions, they will help to sharpen the thinking of any reader facing a medical situation, however grave or pedestrian. This utterly fascinating book, packed with gripping case studies, presents a timely and finely nuanced analysis of a hitherto overlooked subject." --(Ron Chernow, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Washington and Alexander Hamilton)

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