Clarity, Confidence and Uncertainty in Medicine

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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?

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