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The Patient Paradox: Why Sexed Up Medicine is Bad for Your Health Paperback – 28 Feb 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Pinter & Martin Ltd.; 1 edition (28 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780660006
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780660004
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.6 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Margaret McCartney is a GP in Glasgow. She started writing for the press after being infuriated by an article in a newspaper which claimed the CT body screening was the way to stay well. Since then she has written for most UK newspapers, as well the British Medical Journal, other magazines such as Vogue and Prospect, and has had columns in the Guardian and the FT Weekend. She has won prizes from the Medical Journalists Association, the Healthwatch award, and from the European School of Oncology.

She has three children, a strong interest in evidence, professionalism, screening and risk. She blogs and tweets. (@mgtmccartney) The Patient Paradox is her first book. Her second book, Living with Dying: finding care and compassion at the end of life, was published in November 2014.

http://www.margaretmccartney.com/blog

Product Description

About the Author

Margaret McCartney is a GP in Glasgow, and has three children. She started writing for the press after being infuriated by an article in a newspaper which claimed that CT body screening was the way to stay well. Since then she has written for most UK newspapers, as well as the British Medical Journal, other magazines such as Vogue and Prospect, and has had columns in the Guardian and the FT Weekend. She has won prizes from the Medical Journalists' Association, the Healthwatch award, and from the European School of Oncology.

She has a strong interest in evidence, professionalism, screening and risk. She blogs and tweets. The Patient Paradox is her first book.

margaretmccartney.com/blog


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Helen on 16 Mar 2012
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book. Using clear language, straightforward diagrams and plenty of examples, McCartney (who is also a practising GP) takes the mystery out of medical screening, reviews and statistics. Her analysis reveals some surprising and negative results, including overdiagnosis, further testing and anxiety, and increased costs. The arguments are persuasive and challenging, but ultimately positive: "Addressing inequalities is where the biggest gains in health are to me made, not our current model of taking well people and screening them into diagnoses they don't need and won't benefit from"

Accessible and easy to read, with a narrative grounded in personal experience backed up with well referenced, evidence based research, this fascinating book would appeal to anyone with an interest in healthcare, be it professional or personal.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By S Quilter on 17 Mar 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a clearly written book, accessible to all giving an insight in to our current obsession with medical screening.

It gives the most readily understandable explanation that I have come across of relative versus actual risk of contracting serious medical conditions. It lays bare how statistics are manipulated and over-hyped to give a good story rather than to allow individuals to assess risks versus benefits and make a considered judgement, with their GP, of what might be the best course of action for them.

Margaret McCartney deserves a wide audience and I hope this book stirs the "worrried well" in to taking a more balanced approach to life.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jil on 22 May 2012
Format: Paperback
This is the book to read if you want to know what the hidden agenda is when you visit the doctor's surgery, and whether the screenings you are offered from NHS and private companies are really risk-free, beneficial or even necessary.

It is no surprise that the pharmaceutical industry has an unhealthy and powerful influence on clinical practice, but Margaret McCartney will shock you by revealing study results and parliamentary inquiry conclusions on just how controlling this heartless industry is.

The `inverse care law', the phenomenon of the most ill people having the least access to care, was first described by a Welsh GP nearly 40 years ago. Rather than adjusting the balance in favour of caring for the most needy, our healthcare system has perpetuated this law by focussing even more intensely upon the `worried well' who are made vulnerable by clever advertising then parted from their cash in return for screenings they don't need.

Margaret McCartney offers a lively and impassioned explanation of the hidden facts about screening for the illnesses we are told we should be most concerned about. She reveals facts about tests whose accuracy and value we take for granted, and how screenings are introduced by vote-seeking politicians rather than clinicians on the basis of hard evidence.

This is an important book...you'd have to be living in a bubble to not be exposed to the public 'fight' against cancer, cholesterol and other threats to wellbeing. The Patient Paradox encourages a closer look at the weapons used in this 'fight' and redefines terms like 'wellbeing' and 'risk'.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By No.1BookFan on 4 May 2012
Format: Paperback
There is a very strong history of breast cancer in my family. Nevertheless, when I'm offered regular screening mammograms in a couple of years time, I will probably refuse them. It's also unlikely that I will go for any more smear tests, despite the recent 'Jade Goody effect'.

Controversial?

Margaret McCartney's book separates the facts from the headlines, explains the encroaching position of government and pharmaceutical companies on our welfare, and explains how thousands of healthy people are being turned into patients. She looks at the influence of charity and celebrity, and emphasises the increasingly difficult position that our GPs are placed in today.
This is a fascinating, well-researched and easy to read book that should make you question how the NHS works, how it ought to work, and how you want it to work for you.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By MJD Hill on 8 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What Margaret McCartney has to say is important. She gives a clear evidence based explanation of the little reported dis-benefits of medical screening, of the dangers of the mass prescription of drugs such as statins and the way in which the drug companies use charities to front their PR campaigns. She also explains how politicians fall into the trap of pushing simplistic solutions to complex and often counter-intuitive medical issues.

She has a clear grasp of medical statistics and the ability to explain the statistical evidence to her readers. In particular, she clearly explains the confusion arising from the difference between relative and absolute statistics.

However, her greatest strength is that her only bias is that of a Glasgow GP. There are many bloggers and writers commenting in this field but all too often their persuasive analysis misuses the evidence and is followed by a pitch for their own fish oil supplement, subscriber only newsletter or rejuvenating health course.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Donald Scott on 4 Nov 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very readable book. I like the way the author expresses her opinion-voiced in an intelligent, rational and caring way. These are the characteristics everyone would like in their own GP? She has written this work partly to convey her concerns about the over-medicalisation of society-making patients out of normal healthy people. She covers the subjects, which often get passed over rather rapidly when making decisions about health care options. For example: What is the evidence for one form of treatment over another? Is the preferred treatment safe, effective and just what are their risks and benefits? Has the treatment been really tested, and by whom?

We are all consumers today, we need to know the things that can confuse the healthcare debate. There is the perception that by using statistics we can cover up, rather than reveal the authentic facts. What confidence can we have that Big Pharma and academics working within Media reveal all their data on research in full? Patients rely heavily on their GP's opinions on favoured options when making choices. The author suggests innate bias is not always fully recognised by either party during a consult.

Dr McCartney follows a long line of heretics who question the purpose of medical care. Currently mainstream medicine claims to be objective, scientific and absolute in its knowledge base. It disregards any suggestion that medicine and healthcare is as much an art as a science. Is it possible that medical provision is not in any way weakened by that admission, perhaps just the converse? Marcia Angell, Richard Smith, John Abramson, James Penston and H. Gilbert Welch follow the tradition of questioning mainstream thinking on health.
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