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 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  3,000 ratings  ·  315 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
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
Kristen Nace
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Pamela Q.
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
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).
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
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.
Sian Bradshaw
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
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.
Anna Engel
If you like "House, MD," you'll enjoy this book. (The author consulted for the show.) Each chapter focuses on one aspect of the doctor-patient relationship - training, examinations, information exchanges, and the proper use of diagnostic tools. Each chapter also describes a medical mystery that illustrates that particular aspect of the doctor-patient relationship. In this manner, Dr. Sanders examines and evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the American healthcare system and its training of ...more
I loved this book! Sanders presents a mix of hard-to-diagnose cases and the thought processes of the diagnostician. It's interesting to read the problem-solving strategies that doctors use to chase down a correct diagnosis.

Often doctors will profile a patient or go with the most evident solution. This works most of the time. But using off-the-shelf diagnoses don't work when a young woman has a heart attack, a person on the east coast has Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, or a person with memory pro
I was undecided between two and three stars because I wasn't quite sure whether I liked this book or was simply ok; for now, three stars won because of the medical cases presented and because there were parts that made for a very enjoyable reading. As for negatives: I don't think the title suits this book very well, as this was mostly not about the stories that patients tell, but about the many difficulties of diagnosis. There were also some literary passages that, while it didn't bother me read ...more
Luca Mauri
Il libro un viaggio nella medicina diagnostica fatto passando attraverso le storie vere di pazienti che hanno sofferto, di medici che hanno fallito e di medici che hanno alla fine trovato la risposta giusta a un problema medico.
Senza peli sulla lingua, l'autrice ci racconta come funziona il sistema sanitario e la medicina in generale. racconta i successi, ma pi spesso i fallimenti delle diagnosi e delle cure.
Da un certo punto di vista un libro che fa rabbrividire: le cifre sugli errori medici
Patty Simpson
3.5 stars - the style is engrossing and easy to read and the subject matter is interesting. But there weren't enough cases/stories, and in contrast there was too much discussion about the lost art of the physical exam and how doctors are failing in that area. Instead of being a book with a whole bunch of fascinating medical cases, its focus was a lot of discussion about teaching methods and history of physical examination and the strengths and weaknesses of technology in the medical arts - which ...more
Laura Hoffman
At first I was incredibly enthralled with the author's research on different aspects of the history of the practice of medicine. She certainly did her research and this is an informing read. Unfortunately, it became a tedious, research-paper type read. I felt like I was a proofreader. She used "here" instead of correctly using "hear"! I found myself skimming through the end in the same way that I skim through the end of an exhausting textbook chapter. If you pick it up and start to get bored, PU ...more
Naim Kabir
So good.

The narration was fine, but for me most of the value came from the pedagogical qualities of the story. It drove home the idea that a patient's well-being also includes their disease being put into the context of their life.

Patients don't come into the hospital just to be spat out by the cold, insular revolving door of Biomedicine, they want a STORY of what's wrong with them. And usually, too, you can make a diagnosis by just listening the story THEY have to tell.

Great read. Super educat
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
paying for time 4 25 Oct 29, 2009 08:33AM  
  • The Deadly Dinner Party: and Other Medical Detective Stories
  • Something for the Pain: Compassion and Burnout in the ER
  • The Medical Detectives
  • When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales of Neurosurgery
  • Hot Lights, Cold Steel: Life, Death and Sleepless Nights in a Surgeon's First Years
  • On Call: A Doctor's Days and Nights in Residency
  • The Woman with a Worm in Her Head: And Other True Stories of Infectious Disease
  • Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality
  • How Doctors Think
  • The Intern Blues: The Timeless Classic About the Making of a Doctor
  • Walk on Water: The Miracle of Saving Children's Lives
  • Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School
  • Intern: A Doctor's Initiation
  • Just Here Trying to Save a Few Lives: Tales of Life and Death from the ER
  • Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer
  • Singular Intimacies: Becoming a Doctor at Bellevue
  • The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing, and the Science of Suffering
  • Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside
The Perfect Fit Diet: Combine What Science Knows About Weight Loss with What You Know About Yourself 12 Days in Africa: A Mother's Journey What the Patient Tells You The Tender Mending (Candlelight Ecstasy, #41) Everyday Revelations

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…