Two summers ago I came down with a mysterious illness that started with some minor joint pain and over the course of eight months progressed to the point that I could barely walk. I also developed extreme light and noise sensitivity, ringing in my ears, insomnia, nightmares and a crippling, inexplicable sense of fear. I saw nine different doctors in eight months. After being told I had a stress fracture, a hand injury, Morton's neuroma, psoriatic arthritis and torn ligaments, I finally got a diagnosis of Lyme disease and started treatment. (Read in detail here, if you want.)
A teacher at Harvard Medical School and the chief of experimental medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Jerome Groopman puts into words what I had come away with from my experience trying to find a diagnosis in his book How Doctors Think. Using case histories and his experience as both a doctor and a patient, he explores habits of thinking, and how doctors may make major errors by relying too heavily on algorithms instead of thinking independently. (How true this was for me, when nearly every doctor I saw treated me for my primary complaint, instead of considering the idea that my other symptoms may be a part of the whole problem.)
Recommended for anyone looking for a little more insight into the American healthcare system, what makes a great doctor and how we can help our doctors think independently about our cases.
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