Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis” as Want to Read:
Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  3,859 Ratings  ·  359 Reviews
A riveting exploration of the most difficult and important part of what doctors do, by Yale School of Medicine physician Dr. Lisa Sanders, author of the monthly New York Times Magazine column "Diagnosis," the inspiration for the hit Fox TV series House, M.D.

"The experience of being ill can be like waking up in a foreign country. Life, as you formerly knew it, is on hold w
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 11th 2009 by Harmony (first published 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Every Patient Tells a Story, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Every Patient Tells a Story

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 21, 2013 Reese rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't think it was possible for a book about medical problems to bore me. I now know that it's possible. Yep, EVERY PATIENT TELLS A STORY managed to bore me. Boredom may not be an illness, but in this review, equating the two seems appropriate. I'm not starting with a potpourri of baffling symptoms and trying to arrive at a diagnosis. I have the diagnosis: boredom -- so my task is to identify the causes.

Dr. Lisa Sanders' work reminds me of a medical file in that it's a disorganized collectio
মাশুদুল হক
অসাধারণ বই, মেডিসিনে যদি কযারিয়ার করি তাহলে সেই পথ বেছে নেয়াতে এ বইয়ের একটা ভূমিকা থাকবে!
ডায়াগনসিস একটা আরট সেটা মেডিসিনে সবত:সিদধ কথা। যে ডাকতার ভাল ডায়াগনসিস করেন তিনি যেন কোনান ডয়েলের শারলক হোমসের মতই, তাই কঠিন পরায় পরতযেকটা ডায়াগনসিস এক একটা গলপের মত, যেকোন ডিটেকটিভ গলপকে হার মানানোর মতই সেসব গলপের টযুইসট।
এটা যারা জনপরিয় মেডিকেল টিভি সিরিজ House, MD দেখেছে তারা সবাই জানে। ঘটনাকরমে এ বইয়ের লেখিকাও সেই সিরিজের একজন পরামরশদাতা- তাই সবভাবতই সে ধরনের বেশ কিছু ঘটনা এখানে আছে। তবে সিরিজের মত ঘটনাব
Kristen Nace
May 05, 2010 Kristen Nace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a medical lab tech, this book was fascinating to me. I spend my weekends working in the local hospital running diagnostic tests of all kinds. Often, I will come to know a patient ( eventhough I never see their face) through their lab resutls. I will make and view a slide of their CBC and count their different white cells. i will take note of their panic potassiums and calciums, their low hemoglobin, etc. and call these results to an er doctor and will often hear an "A-HA!" from the doctor as ...more
Dec 15, 2010 Angela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-ficiton
I was a little disappointed in this book. The author is touted writes a column that gave rise to House MD so I expected lots of interesting case histories and weird maladies! Instead the book is a lot about how diagnosis is done and a boring eulogy for what the author describes as the death of the physical exam and the lack of training in basics for doctors. For those interested in the case history type thing I recommend instead Oliver Sachs (Awakening) and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat ...more
Jan 23, 2012 Becca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-2012
Oh my god this book was AMAZING. I am so grateful that Amy let me read this book. It might seem boring because it's a medical book but honestly it's not. This book is a bunch of stories about diagnosising people and how one tiny detail the others. One of the most memorable story that I read was about a girl who constantly smoked weed (marijuana) and got nausea from it. When the doctors found out it was the weed that made her feel this way they told the patient. To my surprise she got angry at th ...more
Dec 20, 2014 Risa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As a medical scientist, and someone just generally into medical anything, this book seemed like an obvious choice. The "Every Patient Tells a Story" sounds like House, MD in a book format. SIGN ME UP! Unfortunately, uh, there are hardly any patient stories. This is one long book on the benefits of the physical exam. Sure the author throw us a bone here and there, in the form of a very brief patient case, then followed by yet another 50 pages about the physical exam and 10 more pages full of stat ...more
Feb 26, 2014 Cami rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a lover of nonfiction and medical books, I really enjoyed this one! The competition described on page 112? Brilliant! The maneuver and diagnosis from pages 122-123? Fascinating! If you watch House for the medical aspect, this is the book for you--the author of this book is actually the technical advisor to the writers of House.

I'm not sure how I stumbled upon this book, but it was probably recommended to me by GoodReads since I enjoyed "How Doctors Think" by Jerome Groopman (which is actuall
A while back, I heard that a Dr Lisa Sanders was the medical consultant for one of my favorite TV shows, House. The name rang a bell because it was the same as one of my best friends from high school -- only the last I'd heard, she was a producer at CBS. Through the miracle of FaceBook, after several decades we reconnected. My Lisa had indeed had a career change and now was a physician. Twists and turns of fate had led her to write a medical column for the New York Times, which in turn led to th ...more
This book caught my eye after I recognized the name from the New York Times. Lisa Sanders is a doctor, who also serves as a columnist for the New York Times section on Health. Her book is very akin to the TV series House, as it describes many cases where doctors were completely stumped by a patients symptoms, only to discover that the patients actual disease was something that could have been put in a footnote of a medical school textbook.
I really enjoyed this book because in a way, it makes the
Sep 11, 2009 Miles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a non-medical professional I did enjoy this book. The main emphasis was the declining use of the physical exam in favor of greater delendence on medical testing. The author gives several case examples of what can be missed when the physician is not spending the time to listen to the patient and to perfrom a careful physical. She cites quite a bit of reasearch supporting her contention but is clearly not dismissive of the value of medical testing in conjunction with the physical exam.

Because o
Amy Y.
Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis was a great book to read. It is about a doctor's point of view in which different kinds of patients are bringing in mysterious symptoms. For example, in one patient's story, a 19 year old girl is brought in a hospital because she was complaining about being nauseated. She didn't eat anything bad and she was in top physical condition. So, doctors tried to figure out what were the causes of her being nauseated. The overall cau ...more
Jan 29, 2013 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most reviews for this book seem to say: "If you love the show House MD, you'll love this book."

I'd say that's mostly true; the show was partly inspired by this doctor who writes about unusual medical cases and the art of diagnosing them. She's a very good writer, and the suspense of trying to figure out these medical mysteries keeps you on the edge of your seat. You don't want to put the book down, like you're reading an actual mystery novel.

But that's only part of the book. It's interspersed
Aug 17, 2013 Roman rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book, written by Sanders, set out to prove a point -- that the physical exam is slowly on its way out of healthcare, which is unfortunate because it can provide valuable information and help confirm a diagnosis. Unfortunately, the book fails to provide any cohesive arguments and is instead a series of random bouts of information. Sanders uses different forms of proof -- patient stories, medical text citations, research studies, and her very own personal stories. What dragged this book down ...more
Oct 04, 2009 Barb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was phenomonal and a compelling read. The author has been involved with the TV show HOUSE and the unusual cases presented - she is an MD who is also a columnist. As she presented different patients, she continued to relay the importance of two parts of medicine that no one has been able to duplicate with computers or other technology. Those two things are the physical exam and the patient history. She quoted the number of times physicians who have been observed would interrupt their pa ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Mar 16, 2016 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it
Shelves: health, healing
I like some odd genres: Books about Books...Books about People Who Move and Start Over...Books about Cooking...and the genre this book falls into, Books about Doctors.

Don't ask me why.

Books like this one fascinate me. I'm struck by the way doctors work on people's bodies using a clever combination of science and intuition.

This is a particularly intriguing book to me as it deals with the art of diagnosis, using scientific knowledge along with experience and hunches, to figure out why things aren
Was kind of hoping this would be kind of like "House" or "Medical Mysteries," working through differential after differential, explaining how a diagnosis was reached, where things went right or wrong. Maybe I'd learn a bit about the process. There was some of that, but there was also a lot of Dr Sanders' reflection on and opinions about things like computers and medicine or training of doctors or traditional hands-on patient examination. While informative, less so than I'd hoped. And also less i ...more
Sep 17, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lisa Sanders is Assistant Professor of Medicine (General Medicine) at the Yale School of Medicine, a technical advisor for the television show “House”, a former CBS News producer, and an author. Her book is a very interesting treatment on the art and science of medical diagnosis. The subject matter is medicine but the concepts can be widely applied: listen carefully to clients/patients/others for their full story, be educated by them, explore different causes, remote possibilities, and possible ...more
Mayar Magdi
لولوولولولولولى :D
اخيرا خلصت !
اديلى عشر ايام بعصر على نفسى بلمون عشان اكمل شابتر ورا التانى
اولا المولفة ليزا ساندرز
عجنى فيها شجاعتها انها تدخل المجال الطبى لما حبت انها تحس انها ليها تاثير اكبر من تاثيرها كصحفيه
وعجينى ان هيا منستش انها صحفيه برضه
ولكن الكتاب احبطنى شويه علشان مكنتش متوقعه ان الطبيب ساعات كتير بتواجه لحظات بعجز فيها عن مساعدة انسان بيتالم ادام عنيه
كمان هوا مش محدد اوى هوا موجه لمين يعنى الاجزاء المتعلقة بال physical exam
و الحاجات دى مش ذات اهميه اوى
وكمان فى مشكلة المط الكتاب
Jan 03, 2016 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
not a bingo book!!!! whoops
Pamela Fernandes
Sep 08, 2014 Pamela Fernandes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books every doctor should read. As I started this book I played a game with myself trying to arrive at a diagnosis before it was revealed in the book and truthfully only in three instances was I absolutely sure about the correct diagnosis, which makes me feel like I have the right thought process (eyeroll). What I love about this book is that there are no characters, there's no story development, these are real people not 'cases', these are honest truths, this is real life a ...more
Anthony Chung
Jul 21, 2014 Anthony Chung rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is full of medical anecdotes and is a great one for aspiring doctors or diagnosticians as a "Sherlock Holmes" type read. Similar in concepts as "How Doctors Think" by Jererome Gropman, Sanders reveals even more anecdotes about how doctors make diagnosis and how they use inductive and deductive reasoning to arrive at answers.

The only thing I'll have to be a little contentious about this book is how she's hypocritical in the type of thinking that she deems superior than another. Another
Jellie Dawn
From the writer of the series House M.D, Dr. Lisa Sanders. Great read. Recommended for doctors and med students!

Update: August 7,2013

I got what I wanted and more. This book doesn't only give information but wisdom and inspiration for every medical student who wants to forge a refreshing and exciting path for himself/herself in the medical arena. Truly a book for all (and not just medical students).
Jan 23, 2015 M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Be warned: this book will make you question your doctor. But this is a good thing. Understanding the process by which doctor diagnose our ailments can only help us make our interaction with them more meaningful. As much a psychology/sociology book as it is a medical book, it may be of interest to those who enjoyed books like 'Blink' by Malcolm Gladwell which focus on how we make decisions. There's a bit of a wasted opportunity at the end: Sanders begins talking about the impact of Google on diag ...more
Zoe Jussel
Oct 09, 2015 Zoe Jussel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely interesting book and I will be remembering many of the situations presented here. The hows, whys and wheres of diagnosing patients from various points of view and how very important the ordinary hands on physical examination, with the proper questions is still paramount. The mysterious illnesses with no apparent rhyme nor reason and how the final diagnosis is ferreted out but often can take years. Many doctors today are dismissing the examination or rushing over it, thinking it of litt ...more
The book Every Patient Tells a Story, written by Lisa Saunders is about the diagnosis of humans and medical mysteries. Patients come into hospitals with odd things happening to them and the doctors need to figure out what it is. For example, a girl came in and she was yellow and wasn't feeling good. The doctors have to diagnose this and figure out what is wrong. Usually, they can figure something out. But it doesn't come to them easily. Sometimes they have to ask personal questions about the pat ...more
Interesting and readable meditation on the practice of medicine, and diagnosis via clinical history and physical examination. Some chapters read like feature articles. The theme of the book seems to be that is an art to diagnosis; though I'm not sure this book will get you closer to it, the cases should give you a healthy respect for the process.
Jun 15, 2016 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went into this book thinking it would focus more on case studies of the medical mysteries often seen on House MD, but instead this book focused on the pieces of the puzzle physicians use to make a diagnosis -- the history, physical exam, and labs/investigations. I can see how this wouldn't be interesting for a layperson, but I actually found this way of organization and the discussion around some of the issues that can arise at each of these stages very insightful. My main complaint is that th ...more
Paul Lima
I thought I was going to read House--the TV show about the curmudgeonly doctor who, with his team, diagnosed hard to diagnose illnesses. The author was a consultant on the TV show. And there was some of that. But overall, I suspect you have to be a doctor or medical student to enjoy this book. There were long digressions--not all of them medical--that I didn't understand. And the medical diagnosis? They work better on TV; kind of boring in book form. If there was one thing I learned (and kind o ...more
Sian Bradshaw
Mar 21, 2015 Sian Bradshaw rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
At first I chose this book thinking it was a series of vignettes about difficult diagnoses especially as the author was a medical consultant to the House series.

Instead, whist it had an element of that, it covered a myriad of areas which come under diagnosis. It covered the developed of IT diagnostic packages for patients and why it has not been so far developed as one would imagine. She also looked at the role of the physical examination of the patient and how it has waned but is now hopefully
Feb 04, 2014 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mostly did a skim for the individual medical stories, which as a nurse I found very interesting. Much of the book speaks to the importance of diagnosis. Points well made and taken, but perhaps overdone.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the Year i...: Every Patient Tells a Story, by Lisa Sanders 1 11 Mar 04, 2016 03:01PM  
paying for time 4 26 Oct 29, 2009 08:33AM  
  • The Deadly Dinner Party: and Other Medical Detective Stories
  • Something for the Pain: Compassion and Burnout in the ER
  • On Call: A Doctor's Days and Nights in Residency
  • The Medical Detectives
  • When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales of Neurosurgery
  • The Intern Blues: The Timeless Classic About the Making of a Doctor
  • Hot Lights, Cold Steel: Life, Death and Sleepless Nights in a Surgeon's First Years
  • Hospital: Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity, Plus Red Tape, Bad Behavior, Money, God and Diversity on Steroids
  • How Doctors Think
  • The Woman with a Worm in Her Head: And Other True Stories of Infectious Disease
  • The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing, and the Science of Suffering
  • Intern: A Doctor's Initiation
  • Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School
  • Just Here Trying to Save a Few Lives: Tales of Life and Death from the ER
  • Singular Intimacies: Becoming a Doctor at Bellevue
  • Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality
  • Walk on Water: The Miracle of Saving Children's Lives
  • What I Learned in Medical School: Personal Stories of Young Doctors

Share This Book

“..I don't count Jennifer among my mistakes. She had a severe infection and precious little reserve. Nevertheless, I think of her often. Those minutes of terror and confusion I felt standing powerless in her room served as a visceral reminder throughout my training... that the big picture isn't enough in medicine...” 2 likes
“The basic sciences of anatomy, physiology, biology, and chemistry are linked to a patient at the bedside through very specific stories that doctors learn and eventually create. These stories, what researchers now call illness scripts, contain key characteristics of a disease to form an iconic version, an idealized model of that particular disease. … It is the story that every doctor puts together for herself with the knowledge she gains from books and patients. The more experience a doctor has with any of these illnesses, the richer and more detailed the illness script she has of the disease becomes.” 1 likes
More quotes…