Greg's Reviews > How Doctors Think

How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman
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's review
Jan 01, 09

bookshelves: medical, biography
Read in December, 2008

This book helped me make decisions that gave me the patience to weather many tests and consultations that led to the discover of my coronary artery disease before I got a heart attack. Doctors are people too. They are trying to make a living and doing the best they can. Don't hate them because the prescribe expensive drugs or inconclusive tests. You need to work with them and force them to communicate their thinking. Always ask why a test is being administered. When a diagnosis is made, always ask:
1) What else could be the problem? What other body parts are near the region where I am experiencing symptoms?
2) Is there anything that doesn't fit?
3) Could I have more than one ailment?
When looking for a thinking doctor, look for
1) Communication
2) Critical reasoning: the doctor should explain the thought processes that generated the diagnosis
3) Compassion: respect for the patient's values and spiritual needs.
When diagnosing, (not only doctors do this!), avoid the pitfalls of
1) Availability: the tendency to judge the likelihood of an event by the ease with which relevant examples come to mind.
2) Confirmation Bias: confirming what you expect to find by selectively accepting or ignoring information.
3) Anchoring: a shortcut in thinking where a person firmly latches on to a single possibility without considering multiple possibilities. This may be driven by a wish for a certain outcome.
4) Affectation error: selectively surveying the data driven by the expectation that your original diagnosis is correct.
5) Attribution: be wary of "going with your gut" when you have strong emotions about a person, either positive or negative.
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