Customer Reviews


10 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "As many as 15 percent of all diagnoses are inaccurate...a distressingly high rate of misdiagnosis."
This alarming statistic introduces Dr. Jerome Groopman's compelling analysis of how doctors think--and what this means for patients seeking diagnoses. Groopman is curious to discover how one doctor misses a diagnosis which another doctor gets. Interviewing specialists in different fields, he analyzes the ways they approach patients, how they gather information, how much...
Published on 25 Mar 2007 by Mary Whipple

versus
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Read the books by Gawande instead
This book, despite one or two good chapters ultimately disappoints. Groopman's ego comes across and one can almost feel his sense of superiority coming of the pages. Too much of the book is devoted to telling us about the more inane experiences in his life and he seems to have no problem in repeating the same point repeatedly. The book doesn't flow well, there seems to be...
Published on 13 Nov 2008 by Amazon Customer


Most Helpful First | Newest First

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Read the books by Gawande instead, 13 Nov 2008
This review is from: How Doctors Think (Paperback)
This book, despite one or two good chapters ultimately disappoints. Groopman's ego comes across and one can almost feel his sense of superiority coming of the pages. Too much of the book is devoted to telling us about the more inane experiences in his life and he seems to have no problem in repeating the same point repeatedly. The book doesn't flow well, there seems to be little to link one chapter to the next. Whilst a generation ago this may have been one of the few books of its kind out there that is no longer the case today. The far superior books by Atul Gawande are those that people should peruse, not this over sentimentalised, rather dull book. I will make an exception for the chapter on primary care, which alone is the only part of the book worth reading. Make no mistake this book is on an important topic, doctors most of all need to examine how they think. Unfortunately is written by someone poorly literate and with few new things to say.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Painfully badly written, 27 July 2013
This review is from: How Doctors Think (Paperback)
I guess I'm feeling generous enough to give it 2 stars instead of 1.
It's very badly written. He waffles on and on about irrelevant nonsense instead of getting to the point. Each chapter makes one or two good points, but they're padded out with a lot of fluff, the ideas don't flow logically, he goes off on strange rants, recounts long personal anecdotes and he doesn't actually flesh out the ideas he's trying to introduce.
I'm not denying he's written some bits worth reading, but if this book were summarized with the useless bits taken out it would barely make a pamphlet.
Very unimpressive read and I would not recommend it to anyone.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "As many as 15 percent of all diagnoses are inaccurate...a distressingly high rate of misdiagnosis.", 25 Mar 2007
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: How Doctors Think (Hardcover)
This alarming statistic introduces Dr. Jerome Groopman's compelling analysis of how doctors think--and what this means for patients seeking diagnoses. Groopman is curious to discover how one doctor misses a diagnosis which another doctor gets. Interviewing specialists in different fields, he analyzes the ways they approach patients, how they gather information, how much they may credit or discredit the previous medical histories and diagnoses of these patients, how they deal with symptoms which may not fit a particular diagnosis, and how they arrive at a final diagnosis.

Throughout, he considers the doctors' time constraints, the pressures on them to see a certain number of patients each day, the limitations on tests which are imposed by insurance companies or by hospitals themselves, and the many options for treating a single disease. He is sympathetic, both toward the patient and the physician, and, because he himself has had medical problems, he provides insights from his own experience to show how physicians (and patients) think.

Case histories abound, beginning with the 82-pound woman, whose celiac disease was not diagnosed for fifteen years. Here Groopman analyzes the uses and misuses of clinical decision trees and algorithms used by many doctors and hospitals to assess probabilities and make decision-making more efficient. Sometimes, however, it is necessary for a doctor to depart from the algorithm and obey intuition. Recognizing when the physician is "winging it"--depending too much on intuition and too little on evidence--is a challenge for both patients and other physicians. Ultimately, Groopman focuses on language as the key to diagnosis, showing that when patients and physicians can communicate and truly share information, they have a better chance to come to correct diagnoses and appropriate treatments.

The success of Groopman's book attests to the need for discussion of these issues, but I am not sure Groopman realizes the difficulty patients have in finding ideal doctors whose personalities, thinking, and communication styles are compatible with their own. Most of us are referred to specialists by our primary care physicians (some of whom we see only once a year), and it is not possible to interview several specialists to find the one most suitable. We accept the appointment our primary care physician has set up for us, often with the specialist who has the earliest available appointment. Patients with urgent problems may have fewer choices than Groopman seems to think they have. Though we all search for the ideal, ultimately we must hope that our own diagnoses are not among the problem 15%. n Mary Whipple
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars confirmation, 19 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: How Doctors Think (Paperback)
F or me the book is a confirmation that medicine is a business now and not a vocation and that money and profit therefrom governs all things and that the financial health of those of us who are investors is more important, whether they be taxpayers,tax avoiders o r hedge fund managers. But, this book shows that everyone is not as cynical as me!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 14 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: How Doctors Think (Paperback)
Would have expected much more insight and learning from such a title and author. Instead a 'rehash' on 'medical empathy' and 'zebra narratives'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for ALL doctors to read!, 31 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: How Doctors Think (Hardcover)
Bought this book many years ago (sorry, late review) and after reading it, I lent it to the Medical Consultant on the ward I was a nurse on - he thought it was great, and bought 5 and gave them to his junior doctors!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a crucial book for patients and professionals alike, 22 May 2012
By 
C. buck (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: How Doctors Think (Paperback)
I bought this after reading a review in New Scientist magazine when it first came out. As a practitioner and academic (acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine - 30 years)I have developed an understanding of medical pitfalls and "How Doctors Think" made me realise its not just me - even many doctors (Groopman is doctors clinical tutor)are concerned about the state of modern medicine and are taking the problem seriously enough to do research into the errors that occur and how they can be avoided. The author not only discusses this work but gives us the specialist terms for the thinking errors that lie behind medical mistakes - such as "search satisfaction" - when the person stops thinking as soon as they have thought of a diagnosis that might conceivably explain the symptoms. Groopman devotes a chapter to his own experience of trying to navigate the medical maze and getting hopeless and potentially risky care from "top" US specialists. Like another reviewer I have bought a few copies of this book to give as presents - mainly to medical students, with the hope of having them grow up able to avoid the mistakes. This book is great too for all kinds of medical professionals, alternative included, because they too can fall into some of the same thinking traps. Its a useful handbook for patients as well because the author gives questions you can ask that can help guide your carer's thinking. "Is there anything else it could be doctor?", for example, helps counter the "search satisfaction" problem.
OK, I've given 5 stars, and I mean it, especially because it connects to an evidence base. The main irritation for me was the chatty New York writing style - "he was a regular guy - a 195 pound pitcher for the Yankees..." kind of thing - but we brits can forgive such stuff if the actual content is so valuable. And it is. Buy this medics and be a good doctor.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mainly a collection of old medical anecdotes - lacks evidence, 7 Aug 2012
This review is from: How Doctors Think (Hardcover)
A doctor of Dr Groopman's age, likely considers that the word of a senior clinician is all that matters, and thus pontificates in that haphazard oratory style as if he's lecturing wide-eyed medical students.

These days ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE is considered almost valueless, and unfortunately the thesis of book is based almost exclusively on his stories - where are the links to the research?

In the introduction he states that 15% of all diagnoses are wrong and then goes on to say that he can recall every single misdiagnosis he ever made during his 30 year career. Considering he may have treated more than 20,000 patients in that time he must have an amazing memory to remember the approximately 3000 errors he made. In fact what he means is that he simply isn't aware of nearly all of them, and remembers a few juicy stories. And this lack of insight is concerning when it is the topic on which the book focuses.

The snap clinical decisions he lauds, made by doctors, can be be wrong, and lead to either acute disasters or long-term denial of appropriate treatment.

Medical school training has moved a long way from the type of training that the author had. Hopefully it has made some difference. Unfortunately, being an aloof doctor or a warm caring one, is probably more to do with inbuilt personality than training.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thinking so I should be, 29 Oct 2010
By 
Dr. I. A. Dunn (Nottingham) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: How Doctors Think (Paperback)
I spotted this reviewed in the BMJ sometime ago and marked it for purchase . The time came over summer when I found a pile of them in a bookshop and not having bought a book that day it felt like a good idea . [ I have since bought 5 more as gifts via Amazon because this book deserves to be widely read ] . It was an easy pleasing read . The thinking errors discussed are important and I am sure I am as vulnerable as all other medics . It also illustrated for me the differences in the way I work and the NHS works in comparison with the States . I reckon all medical students and their qualified elders should read this , learning and enjoying .
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book about what goes on in the minds of doctors and their patients, 28 Dec 2007
By 
Rasih Bensan (Istanbul, Turkey) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: How Doctors Think (Hardcover)
I purchased both the book and the audio CD. After listening to the CD I circulated an e - mail to my friends saying : " Everybody ought to read How Doctors Think by Dr. Jerome E. Groopman. Read it whether you are a doctor or not. As a doctor or as a patient you may have experienced similar unfortunate events explained in the book. In that case read the book to never go through the same events. If you have not gone through such experiences read the book so that you will never have to suffer from similar inconveniences."

Although a recent book "How doctors think " by Dr. Jerome E Groopman of Harvard Medical School has already caught a lot of attention and has been translated to different languages and is being sold in various countries. I am not a doctor. As patients my family and I have had to resort to the services of doctors many times. Not necessarily for big illnesses, sometimes only for check ups. In general we are quite healthy. I was attracted by the title of the book. Dr. Groopman explains very clearly what goes on in the minds of both the doctors and their patients and how their thinking styles affect their communication, the diagnoses and treatments. He gives many examples from many different branches of medicine. Everybody would agree with the assertion that better communication between patients and doctors is necessary. But how ? It is the how that Dr. Groopman explains. He shows the flawed thinking patterns in many doctors' thinking with actual detailed case studies leading to wrong diagnoses and treatments and how the doctor's thinking and reasoning should have been in each case. He says that some doctors jump to conclusions when they find a possible cause for a malady without searching for alternative causes that maybe more likely. He proposes a thinking method which generates many alternative explanations and working through the most likely ones before reaching a conclusion. This method seemed to me very similar to some of the correct thinking methods explained by a leading authority on the thinking subject : Dr. Edward de Bono.

Another issue that Dr. Groopman emphasizes is the need for better listening skills for doctors. On the average they interrupt their patients 18 seconds after they start to talk and often miss out on important information that maybe crucial for a correct diagnosis. As a patient I can not agree more. Patients also have a responsibility in effective communication but I think doctors have the upper hand in this matter so doctors need to read this book more carefully than patients. In my experience the doctors' interruptions can sometimes be very rude : several years ago I went to an ear, nose, throat specialist with an ear ache. After inspection he told me I had a certain kind of ear infection. I wanted to express my thoughts on the disease and said : " Doctor, as far as I know about this infection..." He abruptly interrupted and said : " Let's not deal with his infection with what you know about it but rather with what we doctors know about it ". In another case, my family and I had gone to a summer holiday village for vacation. The air temperature dropped for several days and half of the hundreds of tourists including us in the holiday resort began to cough and have fevers. I phoned the holiday camp doctor from our room and said : " Good day doctor. My family and I are coughing with a fever. Half the tourists in the resort are also. The weather is so cold. There seems to be a flu epidemic. Do you think it is a viral or bacterial infection ? " He replied : " Are you a medical expert ? I am the doctor around here and I am the best judge. I say there is no epidemic. People can get ill that is normal ".

In his book Dr. Groopman, in my opinion correctly says that there is no 100 % certainty in medicine. Even the most competent doctors can make wrong diagnoses. If the frequency of mistakes is too high then we can conclude the incompetence of the doctor. This may sound like stating the obvious but Dr. Groopman further states that despite the remarkable advances in medical technology such as brain imaging techniques etc. some doctors using these can still make the wrong diagnoses not because they are incompetent but because some of them see their patients as statistics or case studies not as real human beings. They fail to understand them as human beings. Dr. Groopman talks about the wrong thinking methods here. However, as a patient I would like to add that some doctors also have bad intentions. Most doctors I dealt with were honest and helpful, but I also came across in psychiatry several who had bad intentions. I have personally seen the improper utilization of advanced knowledge and technology : in psychiatry Quantitive EEG of the brain, questionnaires filled out by the patients such as the Beck Depression Inventory, The Beck Anxiety Scale, The Obsessive Compulsive Disorder questionnaire, the Minnesota Personality Test etc. are powerful tools at the disposal of a pychiatrist to help him / her diagnose, provided that they are properly evaluated. After these tests were implemented, I understood from the very superficial and wrong comments made by the psychiatrist that he had not carefully analyzed the tests and questionnaires. He did not understand us better after those tests. It is not the tests that were wrong, they could have been very useful had he taken the time to analyze them properly. Then why did he order these tests and the QEEG ? Because the hospital charges the patients for all those tests. They make money from the tests. I would not regret paying for them had they been properly evaluated.

As patients we have the responsibility to properly listen and implement our doctors' instructions such as taking the medications given in the right doses,times and durations, stop smoking and using substances, do the exercises and diet given by the doctors. But the doctors have to listen to us first. Our primary responsibility as patients is to find doctors who not only think correctly most of the time but who are also honest and competent.

In his book Dr. Groopman explains how smart patients can proactively participate in their dignoses by guiding doctors' thinking with relevant questions such as " could it be anything else ? ". If the doctor feels insulted or annoyed by such questions from the patient,as was in my case, then go to another doctor until you find one who does not feel insulted by relevant patient questions. This is perhaps esspecially needed in psychiatry : there are many competent psychiatrists but many others wrongly prescribe psychiatric medication or start irrelevant psychotherapies for what turns out to be physical illnesses that mimic the symptoms of a psychiatric disorder. The irresponsible psychiatrist overlooks it because he / she does not consider the possibility of a somatic illness by ordering blood tests. In such situations Dr. Groopman's advice to patients to ask " Could it be anything else ? " to their doctors is most relevant.

Thank you Dr. Jerome E Groopman for writing a much needed book. I hope many doctors and patients around the world will read it and revise their approaches towards communication with one another.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

How Doctors Think
How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman (Paperback - 12 Mar 2008)
9.36
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews