What Doctors Cannot Tell You: Clarity, Confidence and Uncertainty in Medicine

What Doctors Cannot Tell You: Clarity, Confidence and Uncertainty in Medicine

by Kevin B. Jones M.D.


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Almost 20 billion times each year, a person walks into a doctor's office.

The person becomes a patient.
Everyone becomes this patient at some point.
How will you talk to your physicians?

What will you tell them?
What will they tell you in return?
They can't tell you what they don't know.
They can tell you when they don't know.
Will they?

What Doctors Cannot Tell You explores the uncertainty that pervades medicine.
It breaks the code of silence within which too many physician-patient conversations take place. The patients' stories in its pages will empower you to ask questions of your physicians, with a firm belief that healing and hope begin from honesty in those critical conversations.

This book marries surgically precise medical narrative to thinking and perspective that will throw the curtains wide on what medicine knows, what it doesn't know, and how it tries to tell the difference between the two. This book is Outliers meets Patch Adams, only with an added how-to twist beyond the instructive and powerfully human narratives. At every chapter's end, the reader will find a list of principles, one for each vignette, and questions to ask his or her physician.

A few books in the last decade have focused on human errors and complications in medicine. Each has suggested ways to improve medicine by the application of checklists and protocols. This book adds a unique and important angle to these considerations: How firmly do we know what should go on the checklist or protocol in the first place? How clear has medicine been with its patients about what it cannot know or does not yet know?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780985245474
Publisher: Tallow Book LLC
Publication date: 06/26/2012
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 12.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 3 Months

Table of Contents

Author's Note vii

Prologue 1

Part 1 Diagnosis

Chapter 1 Uncertainty in Diagnosis

Satisfaction of Search

Impenetrable 9

Near Miss 12

A Close Shave 14

Seconds 17

Cutthroat 19

Out of Context 23

Horse Tale 27

Chapter 2 Managing Diagnosis

Testing Tests

Positive Results 35

Standards & Poor 38

Competing Catechisms 41

Thorned Roses 45

Compartmentalizing 47

Keeping the Faith 50

Imperious 52

Civics and Specifics 55

The Anatomy of Gray 59

Chapter 3 Communicating Diagnosis

Identify the Problem

Watching P's and Q's 69

Losing the Game 73

Incongruity 80

The Last Shall Be First 83

Winning 86

Chokehold 88

Part 2 Treatment

Chapter 4 Uncertainty in Treatment

Wiggle Room

Oil Slick 97

Principle and Interest 100

Bucking 102

Mind the Gap 103

New Flash 106

Guilt 108

Vigorous Precision 111

The Upper Crust 114

The End Result 116

Where it Hurts 120

Chapter 5 Managing Treatment Uncertainties

Err Correctly

Don't Pass GO 125

On Purpose 129

Confounded 131

Show and Tell 133

a.k.a. 135

Puffing 137

Chameleon 139

Painting by Number 142

Chapter 6 Communication and Treatment Decisions

When to Say "When"

Picking Poison 151

Marginal Circumstance 154

Sidestep 159

Dosing Nonsense 163

Intrepid 164

Turning it Over 167

Consent in Form 171

Part 3 Prognosis

Chapter 7 Uncertainty in Prognosis

Knowing the End from the Beginning

pH-balanced 179

Dead Man's Bluff 182

The New Math 185

Catching Curves 187

Straight-up 191

Hammers and Nails 193

Chapter 8 Managing Prognosis Improving the Mortality Experience

Paying the Bills 197

Gambling 200

Working Population 202

Stacking the Deck 205

Bean Counting 207

Waiting the Odds 209

Being Lucky and Good 213

Chapter 9 Communicating Prognosis

Will it Take an Act of Congress?

Afraid to Say 221

Totally Telling 223

Sweating the Small Stuff 225

Drained 228

Bad-tasting Medicine 231

April 15th 236

Closing Time 237


Finally, Judgment

Pink 243

Nailing it Down 246

Now What? 249

Beginning at the End 252

References 257

Acknowledgements 275

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What Doctors Cannot Tell You: Clarity, Confidence and Uncertainty in Medicine 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ESC90 More than 1 year ago
First, I must admit that I know the author, his parents, and several other members of his immediate family. Second, I am myself a health practitioner. It was these factors, however, that prompted me to purchase a copy of "What Doctors Cannot Tell You." I am happy that I did so. This is a marvelous little book. It is well and understandably written. It offers something to everyone --- patient and practitioner alike. From a practitioner's standpoint, you can almost "see" the patient sitting in front of you, because you yourself have had one just like them. From a patient's viewpoint, he or she can better appreciate the difficulties and constraints involved as a physician labors to diagnose, treat, and communicate with them. Medicine is an "art" not a "science." Interesting. Informative. Entertaining. Enjoyable. Easy reading. E.S.C.