“It’s critical for patients to advocate for their own health. This book teaches you how, starting with the startlingly simple idea to advocate for getting a diagnosis. Read it; it will change radically how you approach your doctors.”
--Melissa Etheridge, award-winning singer, activist, and breast cancer survivor
"I have always said that a hospital can kill you as sure as cure you. You must be your own best advocate. Follow the advice of Drs. Wen and Kosowsky, and transform from being a patient to an advocate for your own health."
--Fran Drescher, actress, breast cancer survivor, and founder of the Cancer Schmancer Foundation
"When Doctors Don’t Listen by Drs.Wen and Kosowsky have insightfully crafted a revelation about the workings of modern medicine. It addresses with a finely nuanced balance the basis for our dysfunctional “cookbook style" of medicine. The analysis is not a critical pontification by outsiders, but a pained view by deeply informed insiders. The book pleads powerfully for the disenfranchised patient. It must be read both because most of us sooner or later are bound to seek health care and because the authors provide an important viewpoint for the intensifying nationwide health care debate."
--Bernard Lown, M.D., Professor emeritus Harvard School of Public Health, Senior Physician emeritus Brigham and Women's Hospital, Nobel Peace Laureate 1985
"This is a well-written book on an innovative approach to healthcare reform: it challenges patients to take charge of their health and every medical encounter with their doctor. An important topic and an important book--I encourage my patients to read it."
--Siddhartha Mukerjee, M.D., Oncologist at Columbia University and Pulitzer-Prize winning author of THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES.
“This clearly-written, brilliantly and creatively thought-out book, filled with fascinating and horrifying examples of how doctors are now trained to not listen to their patients in order to “rule out” diseases, focuses on “ruling in” diagnoses that not only are accurate, but that will save billions of dollars per year in lawsuit-driven tests. Let’s hope this starts a revolution in care: from treating patients as objects who are squeezed into algorithmic decision trees on your doctor’s computer, to sensible, healthy partnership with your doctor that achieves real, humane treatment and true healing. A brave, terrific, essential work.”
--Samuel Shem, M.D., Ph.D. author of THE HOUSE OF GOD and THE SPIRIT OF THE PLACE.
“WHEN DOCTORS DON’T LISTEN is a powerful appeal for individualized medical evaluation based on an active partnership between doctors and patients. The rational, mutual approach to diagnosis advocated by Drs. Wen and Kosowsky is the antidote for mindless and wasteful routines that all too often replace careful listening and focused assessment of each patient.”
--Harvey V. Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D., President, Institute of Medicine
“Wen and Kosowsky have revisited the never-ending debate around the “art and science of medicine” hoping to strike the right balance in the practice of emergency health care. Their hands-on discussion of the limits of algorithmic medicine is precise and timely. Their proposal for “diagnostic partnership” is a major contribution of this courageous book in which common sense plays the leading role.”
--Julio Frenk, M.D., Ph.D., Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health
"Drs. Wen and Kosowsky propose an innovative approach to fixing US healthcare that begins with the patient. Read this book and now you—as a patient—can be the change our country has been waiting for."
--Elliot Fisher, M.D., MPH, Director of Population Health and Policy, The Dartmouth Institute
“With the technology of modern medicine, many physicians have inadvertently abandoned their most powerful and effective clinical tool: the compassionate, intellectual embrace of the patient’s own story, acquired through attentive listening. Using real patient examples, Wen and Kosowsky paint a disturbing portrait of medicine gone awry and provide a simple series of prescriptions to empower patients to get their health care back on track.”
--Ron M. Walls, M.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
“A wake up call to move beyond cookbook American medicine to a new medical practice that brings the humanity back into the core of the “art” of healing.”
--Lincoln Chen, M.D., Director, Global Equity Center at Harvard Kennedy School of Government
“In this era of overweening medical technology, doctors and their patients are a great risk of losing touch with the centrality of “patient-centered” care. WHEN DOCTORS DON’T LISTEN not only offers a compelling argument for revitalizing this touchstone of good medicine, but also provides a comprehensive guide for how doctors and patients can improve the quality of healthcare by doing so.”
--Jordan J. Cohen, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Public Health, George Washington University. President Emeritus, Association of American Medical Colleges
"This is an important contribution to helping both physicians and patients more effectively manage their encounters. The authors make it clear that "more medical care" may frequently be harmful to a patient's health".
--Robert Graham, M.D., Professor of Family and Community Medicine, University of Cincinnati
“This book is a must read for informing the dialogue about health care reform and transforming medical education. Its humanistic authors provide support for re-integrating the lost art of humanism with more scientific medicine. The authors’ passion for the individual behind the illness is contagious. They provide examples connecting research evidence and the recipe format of a diagnostic pathway with authentic listening to patients’ narratives. The authors call for honoring the context for the presenting problem before ordering costly tests and hospitalization. Their argument for bringing back the value of clinical judgment is brilliantly written, and is amply supported with case studies. In many ways this is a book about the humanism of the physician as much as it is about patients as human beings.”
--Afaf I. Meleis, Ph.D., DrPS (hon), FAAN, Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania
“Evidenced based medicine, clinical guidelines, and diagnostic algorithms have been widely adopted as an answer to inconsistent and out-of-date medical practice. Drs. Leana Wen and Joshua Kosowsky make the case that the resultant algorithms-gone-wild syndrome seen in many medical settings today actually drives imprecise and wasteful testing, muddled diagnoses, and patient confusion. They argue that these clinical behaviors are at the heart of our “morbidly obese” medical care system and that thoughtful physicians relying on patient narratives and diagnostic common sense will create a leaner medical care system and better patient outcomes. Theirs is a contrarian and compelling case with the wellbeing of millions of patients and $250 billion a year riding on it.”
--Fitzhugh Mullan, M.D., Murdock Head Professor of Medicine and Health Policy, The George Washington University
“What a brilliant concept – this outstanding book provides an innovative and interesting approach to understanding how physicians interact with patients presenting with an illness and reach a diagnosis. Using a case-based approach followed with careful analysis of the process by two experts in the field of Emergency Medicine, clarity and transparency are provided to one of the most complex areas of medicine, how the physician develops the framework for a diagnosis and orders tests to prove it. Drs. Wen and Kosowsky have given the non-medically trained reader a variety of common scenarios for presentation to the Emergency Department. Physicians often reach a wrong diagnosis by following set pathways hard-wired from years of training and experience. Unfortunately, key words or phrases from the patient which lead the physician down a “typical” pathway for an illness can trigger the wrong answer and result in a large number of expensive, time-consuming, and potentially harmful tests. By teaching the patient the importance of providing the essential information on their illness to the physician, and making sure the physician actually listens to them, the likelihood that the physician makes the correct diagnosis increases substantially. This excellent book contains a literal treasure trove of information which will be beneficial and educational for patient and physician alike. As popular as the ED has been over the last two decades, pictured in television shows such as “ER” and other medically oriented television series, I anticipate this book will be widely read, very successful, and often quoted, not only by the lay public but also the medically-trained care providers who strive to listen better to their patients.”
--W. Brian Gibler, M.D., FACEP, FACC, President and CEO, University Hospital, Senior Vice President, UC Health, Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
"A commonsense and deeply sincere prescription to help patients advocate for their own health."
--Sandeep Jauhar, M.D., author of INTERN: A DOCTOR'S INITIATION
"Leana Wen and Josh Kosowsky have written an authoritative guide to answer a seemingly simple question: How should you talk to your doctor?
Through fascinating examples taken from their own clinical experiences, they show how doctors' training fails to teach real listening skills. But Drs. Wen and Kosowsky don't stop there: They also also offer up constructive and practical advice that just might save your life. Hopefully many of my own colleagues in medicine will also learn the lessons described in this terrific book."
--Darshak Sanghavi, M.D., Chief of Pediatric Cardiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, health care columnist for Slate, contributing editor at Parents magazine, and author of A MAP OF THE CHILD: A PEDIATRICIAN’S TOUR OF THE BODY.
"Doctors take an oath to do no harm. Yet more than ever, modern medicine makes healthy people sick. Emergency physicians Leana Wen and Josh Kosowsky make a passionate argument for patients to get involved and informed about their care. A fast, smart read to help you take charge of your health."
--Audrey Young Crissman, M.D., author of WHAT MY PATIENTS TAUGHT ME: A MEDICAL STUDENT’S JOURNEY