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

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  5,180 Ratings  ·  465 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 whi
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published July 31st 2009 by Harmony (first published 2009)
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Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
May 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
May 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like the author's column in the New York Times Magazine, you will like this book. It features well-written stories of so-called "medical mysteries." My problem is this frame of the "mystery" which makes it seem like these are very tough diagnoses and so the patients are just unlucky to have these weird diseases.

Most of the time, the stories reveal diagnoses that could have been made much earlier, more safely and more cheaply if only the doctor had done something basic, like look at the c
Jul 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
মাশুদুল হক
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
This title is far more a memoir than it is a book that is directly focused on the subject matter of the title. And it also does not follow so much of her own autobiography path for becoming a medical doctor in any linear progressive order of time or experience level so you don't get that as a "whole" either. Instead it skips. And jumps to various chapter headings which almost randomly center on different aspects or various instruments of the patient physical examination by the medical doctor.

Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dead on with my experience as a complicated, chronic patient, but what makes it so good to me is that it’s from the perspective of doctors who admit the faults of medicine, the diagnostic process, the tendency to blow things off if there’s not something “normal” and initial, basic tests come back normal, the lack of desire to pursue things further, and the common problem of misdiagnosing a patient simply to give them a diagnosis (thinking they should know everything) to the detriment of the pati ...more
Jan 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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).
Karnish Thakkar
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was ok

Good things :

-Acknowledgment of amazing internist Faith Fitzgerald,Dr.Joseph bell the real inspiration of Sherlock holmes for arther conan doyle(so technically house m.d. medical series was inspired by Sherlock detective series which was inspired by dr bell medical man),Giovanni Battista the anatomy guy,rené theophylline hyacinth laennec the stetho guy.
-evolution of the definition of disease (symptoms~organ dysfunction ~&then add objective observations )
-importance of autopsy & physica
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book may not be what you expect it to be. As you can see by the other reviews, many readers were disappointed because it did not meet their exceptions. Perhaps it needs a different title such as "Putting Human Contact Back into Medical Practice" or "Doctors and Patients are not Machines".

I love reading the "Vital Signs" section of Discover magazine and find the cases in the TV show "House" (Sanders is the medical consultant) fascinating. However, this book is not a simple case by case study
Sanders has a very clear and interesting tone to her writings. As she takes you through the diagnosis' that have perplexed doctors, she is able to write in such a way that causes the reader to experience the mental processes that go on in the mind of a doctor. This was an exciting and interesting read for me. I look forward to reading her other works.
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thought provoking and from a physician's perspective. This book has aspects of it that help encourage patients to ask more questions and look for answers with their provider. We need more books that inspire patients to probe further than the initial diagnosis.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Stick to medicine, Dr Sanders!! Be an excellent diagnostician and don't forget the priceless skill of a proper fiZ exam
Marilyn F
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Maybe a little over 3, but would have liked more of the solving of the medical mysteries and not quite so much waxing on what is right/wrong with the medical profession and its practice in the U.S.
Not bad, byt not quite what I was expecting and it's just not holding my attention so I'm moving on.
Aakash Verma
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, it reads as a memoir but I feel that the desire to reinforce time after time the importance of a physical exam as an important or deciding factor was overdone. I liked the delivery of the stories and got most of the cases correct, the cases could have been more challenging. If the author ever wrote a second edition, I would give it a read.
Nima Morgan
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very fascinating read, great for the layman and the medical community.
May 09, 2017 added it
This was incredibly fascinating.
Nyan Lynn
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is fascinating. I am shocked to learn how doctors are not doing the basics of medicine: history taking and physical examination.
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
Aug 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
May 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Lisa Sanders writes a weekly column about diagnostic stories and is also a technical advisor for the House TV series starring Hugh Laurie.

This is her first book and as the title clearly says, it’s about the art of diagnosing patients.

All the stories about diagnosing patients are very informative and interesting, and some cases are truly mysterious but very satisfyingly solved in the end.

Scarily enough, there are a few horrifying cases where misdiagnoses caused a lot of money, suffering, and in s
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Applying medical arts to healing is doubtless gratifying to skilled practitioners but the most engaging part of the exercise is diagnosis. There are too many moving parts, too many chemical reactions, and too many operating system errors to easily determine what's wrong in every case. Lisa Sanders, who teaches diagnostics at Yale University School of Medicine, writes a monthly column on diagnostics for the New York Times Magazine and serves as technical advisor to television's "House M.D.," writ ...more
Rajmr64 Rajeev
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lisa Sanders is a practicing physician in the United States and she is the adviser for the medical detective series, House M.D that plays on TV. The good doctor throws light on the highly abstract science called Medicine, and the pitfalls that doctors have to face whilst making diagnosis for the patients who confront them with their maladies. The book touched a chord in me basically because I had personally experienced quite a few of the dilemmas described in the book during the course of my cli ...more
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Amy Y.
Nov 13, 2011 rated it liked it
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 27, 2010 added it
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
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paying for time 5 29 Feb 15, 2017 09:38AM  
Around the Year i...: Every Patient Tells a Story, by Lisa Sanders 1 12 Mar 04, 2016 03:01PM  
  • 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
“..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
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