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Extended Audio Sample Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis Audiobook, by Lisa Sanders Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,224 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lisa Sanders Narrator: Lisa Sanders Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2009 ISBN: 9780307577184
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A riveting exploration of the most difficult and important part of what doctors do, by Yale School of Medicine physician Dr. Lisa Sanders.

“The experience of being ill can be like waking up in a foreign country. Life, as you formerly knew it, is on hold while you travel through this other world as unknown as it is unexpected. When I see patients in the hospital or in my office who are suddenly, surprisingly ill, what they really want to know is, ‘What is wrong with me?’ They want a road map that will help them manage their new surroundings. The ability to give this unnerving and unfamiliar place a name, to know it, on some level, restores a measure of control, independent of whether or not that diagnosis comes attached to a cure. Because, even today, a diagnosis is frequently all a good doctor has to offer.”

A healthy young man suddenly loses his memory, making him unable to remember the events of each passing hour. Two patients diagnosed with Lyme disease improve after antibiotic treatment, only to have their symptoms mysteriously return. A young woman lies dying in the intensive care unit—bleeding, jaundiced, incoherent—and none of her doctors know what is killing her.

In Every Patient Tells a Story, Dr. Lisa Sanders takes us bedside to witness the process of solving these and other diagnostic dilemmas, providing a firsthand account of the expertise and intuition that lead a doctor to make the right diagnosis.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Micky | 2/19/2014

    " A friend suggested this book and I thought it would be dreadfully masochistic to read in my current situation. It has helped me be proactive with my medical issue and not just wait for the doctors to figure it out. I am determined to work with my doctors, but I will not sit idly by while they give up when they can't find an answer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 2/14/2014

    " I loved this book! Lisa Sanders offers an insightful look into the process of diagnosis and the status of the medical field. The book is the perfect combination of personal stories and details about the medicine behind the diseases. I was intrigued by the commentary on how medicine is taught and the value of the physical exam. The field of medicine has changed radically as technology has improved and Sanders does a wonderful job of describing how this change will continue to influence the field. Great read! Definitely worth it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 2/11/2014

    " I had never really realized the importance of our (the patient's) role in helping doctors assess and figure out what is "wrong" with us. Lisa Sanders critically examines the state of the modern diagnoses, shedding light on some interesting and important findings. She illustrates her points beautifully with riveting doctor-patient stories, interesting cases that led to the development of the TV show House. Excelling writing, intriguing puzzles, and a bit of a wake-up call, this is a must-read for anyone who has ever been or ever will be a patient. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleen | 2/8/2014

    " I saw this one come past the check-in desk at work and it caught my eye. I'm not familiar with Dr. Sander's previous work - she writes a column in the NY times and consults for the TV series House. Her writing style is direct and engaging and she includes many fascinating case studies to illustrate her points. The book breaks down like this: Part One is a discussion about the stories that patients tell about their illnesses, and how physicians utilize the stories to create a "profile" of the diagnosis. If patient is embarrassed to tell all, or the physician interrupts before the story is fully told, crucial details can be missed. Part Two discusses the demise of the thorough physical exam, and its vital importance to the physician's diagnostic toolkit. Part Three talks about the limitations of certain medical tests and their sometimes subjective interpretation, and Part Four explores the limits of every physician's memory. The study of medicine is so vast and ever-changing, it would seem that no one could hold all that in their memory. Could computers be a help? The last part of the book discusses computerized diagnostic aids, and Googling for a diagnosis. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 bookczuk | 2/3/2014

    " 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 the offer to be the consultant for a new show about a narcissistic, curmudgeonly, drug addicted, brilliant physician. As she tells the story, she figured she'd say yes, because the show surely wouldn't be around too long. I think this year is season 6. The show is a huge hit, due in large part to the talents of Hugh Laurie (one of my all-time favorite actors), who plays the unconventional Gregory House. Lisa came to town on her book tour and we spent a lovely day together. When she left, I had two great things: a reconnection with an old friend and a signed copy of Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis. The Medical Mystery bits were definitely my favorites. I am a nurse, and have seen far too much in my 29 years of practice to be surprised by anything that happens in health care. Lisa's investigation of diagnoses, where we came from, where we are and where we are heading was interesting, but I guess I'm a gossip at heart and wanted to get to the "juicy" bits: the case studies and how the mysteries were solved. All in all, the book was quite readable and informative (though I kept hearing her voice in my head as I read.) I wonder how it would be for someone non-medical, or for someone who is rather jaded on our current health care system. Lisa definitely conveys the angst of being suddenly and dramatically ill for the patient, and the problems faced and battled by physicians seeking to help them. I do love that Lisa has met Hugh Laurie and pronounced him a terrific person. She gave him a copy of the book to read, and then gushed, "And he actually read it!" I love his blurb on the front cover: “If you need to be reminded that there are still diseases that can’t be cured in an hour—including commercial breaks—then this book is for you. Fantastic stuff.” "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 1/30/2014

    " Pretty much just flipped through this and read the parts I found interesting. Some of the medical stories were intriguing, but was not a book that is interesting reading from cover to cover. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann Zweber | 1/25/2014

    " I was a bit skeptical when I read the author was a consultant for House. Sanders does a great job defending patient centered medicine. Once it comes out in paperback it should be required (or recommended) reading for medical/pharmacy students. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 1/22/2014

    " I liked this book. Dr Sanders does a nice job of detailing how stories, our senses, and communication play such an important role in modern medicine, not surprisingly, Dr Sanders has the gift of explaining it all in a reasoned and lively way. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michele | 1/22/2014

    " Great read for those interested in the intricacies of doctor stuff. A little too much info for me on the history of physical exams, but the case studies are really fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elisa | 1/18/2014

    " This is a wonderful book. Dr. Sanders writes an occasional column for the NY Times magazine about diagnosing illnesses. They are set up like brief mysteries. Her books is an extension of that column and addresses the issues with medical testing vs. physical exam and doctor's knowledge. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Ronan Drew | 1/3/2014

    " Good but not great. I quit reading at page 132 (out of 276) because the book was due at the library. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vicki_Loves_Libraries | 12/8/2013

    " Suspenseful medical mysteries without scary violent plot twists. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adelaide | 10/13/2013

    " Despite the cringe-inducing moments of this and my new fear of Lyme disease, this book was great. I learned a lot about the process of diagnosis, its history, and the trends in modern practice. Plus, nearly every story had a happy ending with a diagnosis made just in time. Very satisfying. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sandy | 10/3/2013

    " Very readable and interesting. Dr. Sanders uses case studies to illustrate larger points about medicine and diagnosis. She also draws upon her personal experiences. Throughout, she maintains compassion for her subjects, whether they be patients or doctors. Very good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Corey Nazer | 10/2/2013

    " Very intersting book. Lots of great stories of diagnostic mystery. If this book taught me one thing it is to make sure you never just take a Doctor's word. If you go to the doctor and don't get well soon, keep going and asking. Some illness requires many minds to figure out. Great read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jesseca | 2/26/2013

    " Intriguing book with lots of revealing information about how the medical community operates. Makes you wonder about how effective the system is, but she still portrays it in a mostly positive manner. Great read if you like medical mysteries. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peter | 3/9/2012

    " Mentions a rare illness called canabinoid hyperemisis, chronic barfing caused by smoking weed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 1/7/2012

    " Really interesting. It is refreshing to see doctors so willing to listen to patients and keep looking when they are stumped and not just pass them on to others. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Colleen | 11/16/2011

    " This was more an analysis of the art of diagnosis and what the doctor brings to the table than I was expecting. I thought it would be more a series of case studies. It did have a number of interesting cases and was an interesting glimpse into the world of medical training "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 11/9/2011

    " Good book from the technical adviser to the show "House MD" who practices internal medicine in Connecticut-- interesting and very well-written. Not too in-depth medical info so I didn't feel like I was studying ha. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jimmy | 9/29/2011

    " A interesting read of modern diagnostics and how the field has changed over the years. She makes some excellent recommendations about other authors and speakers that I plan on following up with. Near the end I was moving quickly through the drama and looking mostly for diagnostic reasoning. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deborah | 7/22/2011

    " Interesting Viewpoints from Doctors as Patients tell their Medical Stories "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Drjerseygator | 7/1/2011

    " Fascinating, both scary and reassuring. This doctor writes in an easy to follow format even for non-medical readers. Ending is poignant. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jill | 5/2/2011

    " Better late than never, I started this book last year. Author writes as consultant for TV series House. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Doreen | 3/4/2011

    " The book was good and it was informative. However, I feel there is a bit too much repetition. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jimmy | 3/1/2011

    " A interesting read of modern diagnostics and how the field has changed over the years. She makes some excellent recommendations about other authors and speakers that I plan on following up with. Near the end I was moving quickly through the drama and looking mostly for diagnostic reasoning. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allison | 2/14/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book, but it is a slow read. If you aren't interested in the medicine behind the diagnoses, I'd skip this one. It also wasn't as memoir-"ish" as I had hopes, "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristi | 1/27/2011

    " Had some really insightful looks into the history of medicine & the diagnostic arts. I like that the book didn't turn doctors into omnipotent, God-like creatures. It painted them as normal people, frustrated by lack of technique or tools to best help the patient. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 1/11/2011

    " I liked the stories about the patients. The advice for doctors got a bit preachy for a non-doctor, although as a med students wife I found the book as a whole an excellent read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marcela | 12/25/2010

    " Fascinating--many case studies which makes the doctor seems like a detective. A particular focus on the need for physical exam skills and old fashioned observation in addition to new technology. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat | 12/8/2010

    " Interesting, well-written account of how diagnoses are made, along with some patient stories "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Ronan | 11/23/2010

    " Good but not great. I quit reading at page 132 (out of 276) because the book was due at the library. "

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About the Author

Lisa Sanders, MD, an internist on the faculty of the Yale University School of Medicine, writes the monthly column “Diagnosis” for the New York Times Magazine and serves as technical advisor on Fox TV’s House, M.D. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut.