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Hippocrates' Shadow: What Doctors Don't Know, Don't Tell You, and How Truth Can Repair the Patient-Doctor Breach

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  220 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Everyone knows of the Hippocratic Oath, the famous invocation sworn by all neophyte physicians. But most don't realize that the father of modern medicine was an avid listener and a constant bedside presence. Hippocrates believed in the doctor-patient connection and gained worldwide renown for championing science over mysticism while respecting and advocating the potency of ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 9th 2008 by Scribner (first published 2008)
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Dec 08, 2008 Lena rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone with a body
Shelves: non-fiction, medical
I hadn't expected a book examining problems with modern medicine to be such a page-turner, but the author lived up to his promise to reveal "secrets from the house of medicine," and some of them are doozies.

David Newman is a specialist in emergency medicine, and he combines stories from his practice with hard data to highlight the many places where things can go wrong in the doctor-patient relationship. In chapters with titles such as "We Don't Know," "It Doesn’t Work," and "We Don't Agree," Ne
Dec 27, 2008 Sandi rated it liked it
Recommended to Sandi by: Lena Phoenix
Shelves: 2008, non-fiction
One of the problems I often have with non-fiction is that it has a tendency to wander, get bogged down in minutiae, and/or come across sounding like a textbook. David Newman is an excellent writer who manages to get his points across in an engaging manner. "Hippocrates' Shadow" is a quick, informative read that doesn't get bogged down in a lot of techno-babble. I would give it four stars because I think people really should read it, but my personal rating is three stars because I had already com ...more
Sep 23, 2012 Daniel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
what a frustrating and miserable book. it was about a hundred pages too long, with plenty of filler in the form of redundant straw man bashing and self-congratulatory vignettes which serve no purpose other than to demonstrate how exceptional and wise a doctor newman sees himself as. hippocrates himself if barely mentioned, save for a sentence or two at the end of the chapter which feebly and futily attempts to relate newman's self-aggrandizing diatribes to some idealistic dogma which he convenie ...more
May 17, 2009 Mazola1 rated it liked it
Hippocrates' Shadow is a modern doctor's somehat skeptical (some might say amost cynical) look at modern medicine. Some of its "secrets" aren't really that secret, i.e., that antibiotics are overprescribed because patients demand them and doctors find it quicker and easier to go ahead and bow to their wishes. Newman also contends that CPR doesn't work, mammograms and PSA tests don't save lives, lab tests are over ordered and often misinterpreted, most x-rays tell doctors things they already know ...more
May 12, 2010 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone including doctors should read this book. I learned a lot.
Julien Rapp
Sep 28, 2016 Julien Rapp rated it it was amazing
Shelves: medical-health
This was an eye-opening book into the world of medicine. The author, Dr. Newman draws on his experience as an ER physician and digs deeper into what works and what doesn’t in modern healthcare. He points out what doctors know, and what they don’t. And why our expectations are so high. He demonstrates how doctors, medical companies (hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, indeed any company in the chain), and more revealing, the consumers - us, all play a role in what has happened to modern healthca ...more
Jan 14, 2013 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health-medicine
I give this book five stars based more on the importance of the content rather than the writing and readability. The author exposes flaws in the medical system, as practiced and perpetuated by physicians. As he summarizes it:

“Our knowledge is far more limited than most believe; we advocate and utilize interventions we know don’t work; we disagree on seemingly fundamental issues of science; at system levels we care nothing about communication; we choose technology over touch; we openly defy esta
Iso Cambia
Jun 17, 2013 Iso Cambia rated it really liked it
Where alternative and complementary medicine has flourished, it's nearly always a sign of modern allopathic medicine's failure. (15)

Hippocrates cautioned physicians to "make no pretense to infallibility." (15)

... the ancient Greeks made no distinction between 'art' and 'science,' ... Hippocrates and his contemporaries believed the worlds of poetry, music, and medicine to be fundamentally intertwined. (16)

97% of all mammograms positive for breast cancer are false positives. If you get regular mam
Mar 27, 2009 Radhika rated it really liked it
I love the content of this book. The message is very important and timely. There are portions of this book that are so clearly and concisely written but I am afraid not all are. Especially when Newman uses the stories of others to make his point, he rambles a bit. One of his greatest strengths lie in taking apart the obfuscations even the best journal articles use to obscure poor to ineffectual findings of medical diagnostic tests or medications. He makes the most mundane statistics come alive w ...more
Kyle Klute
Nov 08, 2012 Kyle Klute rated it liked it
Shelves: vocation
A good reality check on the nature and current condition of medicine in our culture. The author presents 8 reasons why there is a growing unrest and divide between doctors and their patients. The final chapter is worth the price of the book in which he finally gets to what he believes is the fundamental issue at hand in our broken health care system:

"A religious belief in the perfection and power of science has come between us [doctor and patient]. Patients crave science instinctively and physic
Oct 20, 2008 Carin rated it really liked it
Shelves: medical
Occasionally dry (particularly the last chapter) but overall fascinating look at why patients and doctors both are feeling increasing unsatisfied despite medical advances. Most interesting facts: only 1 in 3 Million people with strep throat treadet with antibiotics will be helped. Even then, antibiotics don't affect strep, they just prevent rheumatic fever. Meanwhile, 2400 of those 3 million people will die from an allergic reaction to the antibiotics, and the rest will have various other side e ...more
Jun 19, 2012 Piper rated it really liked it
Really is a must read for those who are as averse to the current health system as I am. Heal thy self, has never been more relevant. This doctor talks about the many pitfall of our health care system and admits that there is so much that doctors don't know and can't do much about.
Until we get the pharmaceutical companies to stand down...we will continue to see antibiotics handed out like candy to patients who have no reason to take them. It is time we inform ourselves and advocate for a better w
Dec 23, 2012 Sharron rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health
If you've ever ended up in an ER, or even think you might, you need to read this book. If you take any sort of medicine on a regular basis whether for high blood pressure, asthma, cholesterol, migraines, or anything else, you need to read this book. If you have ever taken an antibiotic or some sort of pain medication, you need to read this book. If you have ever had a mammogram or an x-ray, or really any sort of diagnostic test, you need to read this book. Well, you get the idea. You need to rea ...more
May 22, 2009 Marina is currently reading it
For those of us in medicine, a must-read. The author is an emergency physician practicing in New York City and is also in the army reserve. Great mix of stories from patients he's seen as a military doctor and civilian doctor. He admits to his arrogance at times, to the uncertainty of medicine, and how medicine is really mostly an art and not hard science as many like to believe.
Daniel Jafari
Aug 31, 2011 Daniel Jafari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a desperately needed reflection on how modern medicine is invoking flase images of its purpose and its power, to maximize income and indexes. the author is one of the nicest people i have met, and his presentation of his work is as fascinating as this book. highly recommended to premed students and public
David Elpern
Mar 21, 2009 David Elpern rated it it was amazing
This is an important book, written by an ER doc. It explodes many myths we hold about health care. I think it should be read by any sentient person who has an interest in why doctors do the things they do, order screening tests, prescribe some meds, etc. As a physician, my eyes were opened by this book.
Joseph Gowen
Mar 05, 2009 Joseph Gowen rated it it was amazing
Awesome book. I think it should be read by everyone working in the health care field. Why are we so afraid of saying "we don't know," or "I'm sorry"? It should also be read by everyone that ever goes to see a doctor. So we as patients can remember that doctors and tests aren't infallible, and sometimes the body doesn't do what it should.
Feb 20, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
What does your doctor think and why? Read this book. Spoiler alert, doctors do not have all the answers and are merely our guides in discovering the right answers for our unique bodies. INtesting insight for all.
April Roggio
Was a fascinating read, especially for those of us involved in decision making research. Highly recommend - well, perhaps a bit selfishly, as I'd really like to discuss it with someone who's read it...!
Brett Davis
Jun 25, 2014 Brett Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Glad I read it. Thought provoking and flows smoothly and quickly. Uses good science but does not really define each argument fully or from all sides. That would have made the book less enjoyable and smooth so I can see why he didn't address all the critiques of each of his points.
Will G
Jul 05, 2013 Will G rated it it was amazing
Shelves: meds
Fucking epinephrine! I got lied too! Also there's some other stuff about how Doctors are people and getting crushed by capitalism sucks. Anyway, it's a sweet book if you have a desire to read about statistics and how they are soundly ignored/manipulated.
Apr 28, 2009 Margaret rated it liked it
It's like Freakanomics of the US Healthcare system. Other book club members did not like this book, but I found it interesting.
Sep 21, 2008 Jay rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone at all,especially those in the health industry or suffering from illness
A must read. Absolutely essential to anyone suffering from any type of health dysfunction. Dr. Newman spells out the simple truths and myths regarding the health field.
Apr 16, 2012 Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
More interesting in premise than in delivery. Does indeed shed some light on some common misconceptions by laypeople about the medical profession and common medical practices.
Peter Morville
Sep 24, 2014 Peter Morville rated it it was amazing
Shelves: intertwingled
Everything you never wanted to know about doctors and hospitals. Worth reading. It just might save your life.
Dec 26, 2008 Tracey marked it as to-read
Shelves: recommended-tcpl
TCPL Alt title: Hippocrates' shadow : secrets from the house of medicine - Lena Phoenix gave 4 stars
Jul 26, 2009 Andrea rated it really liked it
Excellent book for those in the medical field and those not. Talks about where Dr.-patient relationship has gone wrong and how to fix it.
Jun 22, 2011 Evan rated it really liked it
I liked it, but I'm going to have to come back to this book to get a good hold on it.
David Barton
Oct 05, 2015 David Barton rated it liked it
Good points, but pedantic and ham - fisted at times.
May 13, 2013 Tori rated it really liked it
Very interesting.
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