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Customer Review

This fascinating book provides insights into the world of medicine. It is about the author's triumphs and failures and about his mistakes and his almost miraculous intuitions. I enjoy his writing style and he must be an interesting person to know in real life. There are strange and puzzling cases and even more strange and puzzling people - both as patients and in the medical profession. The author talks about marvellous recoveries and tragedies and about cases where medicine intervenes too much rather than letting the human body work things out for itself.

I think the one thing which comes over to me from all the medical books I read is that however much medical science advances there is just so much about the human body which remains undiscovered. Doctors are never going to get it right all the time however well trained they are and however much experience they have. I was interested to see how much of an inexact science diagnosis is and the autopsy figures quoted by the author show that the cause of death may turn out to be incorrect as many as a third of cases. The figures haven't changed in the US since the 1930s in spite of the huge increase in modern technology and ways of seeing inside the human body.

It is all too easy to assume that modern medicine has all the answers and this book will swiftly disabuse the reader of this idea. I found the chapter about patients being given all the risks and options fascinating. Do we want doctors to make decisions for us or do we want to be given enough information to make our own decisions? What should a doctor do if he/she believes a patient is making the wrong decision? This author's books are a must read for anyone who has had any dealing with modern medicine if only because it helps to remind us all that doctors are people too
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4.6 out of 5 stars