Synopses & Reviews
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 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, Your Medical Mind will prove to be 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 explain 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
"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.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"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."
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“This important and riveting book could change—and perhaps even save—your life.”
“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.”
Making the right medical decisions is harder than ever. We are overwhelmed by information from all sides—whether our doctors’ recommendations, dissenting experts, confusing statistics, or testimonials on the Internet. Now Doctors Groopman and Hartzband reveal that each of us has a “medical mind,” a highly individual approach to weighing the risks and benefits of treatments. Are you a minimalist or a maximalist, a believer or a doubter, do you look for natural healing or the latest technology? The authors weave vivid narratives of real patients with insights from recent research to demonstrate the power of the medical mind. After reading this groundbreaking book, you will know how to arrive at choices that serve you best.
About the Author
Jerome Groopman, M.D., and Pamela Hartzband, M.D., are on the staff of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, both in Boston. They have collaborated on articles for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The New England Journal of Medicine, among other publications. Groopman, a staff writer for The New Yorker, is the author of four books, including the New York Times bestseller How Doctors Think.