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The Secret Language Of Doctors Hardcover – Apr 29 2014

4.0 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (April 29 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1443416010
  • ISBN-13: 978-1443416016
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #65,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

BRIAN GOLDMAN is an emergency physician at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital and the host of CBC Radio's award-winning program White Coat, Black Art. His inspiring yet bracingly honest TEDx talk about medical errors—which has been viewed on the Internet almost one million times—has cemented his reputation as one of his generation's keenest observers of the culture of modern medicine. The author of the acclaimed book The Night Shift, Dr. Goldman lives in Toronto with his wife and two children.


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By Dr. Tim Parker HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 18 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Disclosure up front: I'm a doctor (retired, but hey, I still remember some of it!). I have spent a lifetime trying to make the arcane discussions of medicine and several allied fields of science more understandable to those around me, although this gets hard when talking to other doctors. So, in a constant attempt to make the science of medicine more understandable, I tend to buy all the books intended to demystify the field, mostly out of curiosity (I already know what those big words mean!).

So let's tackle this book from a couple of perspectives: how it reads, and how the information is conveyed. As a book, it's a fun read. The pacing is good, the explanation of the field is well done, and the introduction of the reason we use funny words is well handled. There's a sense of humor (almost tongue in cheek at times) that makes the book more engaging for the layperson. This isn't surprising: the author has often appeared on radio trying to demystify the field, and does it well. The book is educational without lecturing, which is often the hallmark of a good writer in the science fields.

As for the information, well, first and foremost, it is accurate (which you would think we could take for granted in today's publishing world, but alas there's a ton of misinformation out there, especially when it is taken from that oracle of all accurate knowledge, the Internet). Goldman covers off the terms you'll hear doctors and nurses throw around, in private practice and in the hospital, in a gentle manner, explaining their meaning (and why we use those terms and not the generic descriptions) in many cases.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was very enlightening!! The language described was funny and apt, and the world of medicine and the patients involved, is discussed with respect and compassion. Dr Goldman has a great sense of humour, and reading his book made me a more educated and aware patient.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just finished The Secret Language of Doctors. It’s outstanding. I am an alumni relations professional at a major Canadian school of medicine and this was an incredibly enlightening glimpse into the culture of the physicians I work with. I’ve come to realize over the years that understanding the culture of each of the medical specialties is really key to my work in alumni relations. I wish the book had been available when I first joined the school of medicine.

I’ve recommended it to all my colleagues and would also recommend it to pretty much anyone interested in medicine or who is a patient from time to time (i.e. everyone) so they can be a more active participant in their treatment.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I initially spoke with Dr. Goldman at the time he was preparing this book, discussing some of my own professional experiences with medical jargon, so I'll admit to some bias in this review. To be honest, I was initially expecting a book focused on humor and more of a descriptive "glossary" of jargon. The author gave me a great surprise, however: a book that was not only descriptive, interesting, and an easy read (and certainly with no small portion of comedy), but one which is likely to be as thought provoking to each of us within the medical field as those first being introduced to the secret language described here.

The book is generally divided into sections of different focuses of slang: a chapter on obese patients, one on patients who commonly return to the hospital ("frequent flyers"), even one on medical professionals' references to one another. There's an entire chapter on obstetrics & gynecology jargon, the group I'm least familiar with; this was one of the few "outsider's views" I was able to take from the book, and it remained as fascinating to me as the discussion of terms I knew well. There's no question patients and families will benefit from and be intrigued by this book, not only obtaining the knowledge of some otherwise misunderstood terms, but recognizing the culture which leads to their creations.

I am most amazed, however, by Dr. Goldman's ability to describe that culture to fellow healthcare workers, and in doing so to encourage self-reflection among those of us in the field. From the interactions we have with one another describing patients to those complaining about colleagues, the easy recognition of the professional and systemic problems prompted by Goldman's book was more insightful than I'd ever have imagined.
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Format: Hardcover
Virtually every specialized field features its own language, an argot that enables workers to communicate quickly and exclusively. Medicine may just boast the most extensive list of foreign terms so, in his new book, CBC Radio's "White Coat, Black Art" host, Dr. Brian Goldman, attempts to translate some of these terms into everyday speech. But "The Secret Language of Doctors" offers more than an insider's guide to medical slang; it provides a candid and intriguing look at the attitudes and issues that shape our healthcare system.

At times, Dr. Goldman comes across as jaded and bitter, describing "a quiet seething...a simmering frustration felt by doctors about their work, their patients and each other." Some of the terms and attitudes he describes when referring to certain types of patients feel offensive and disturbing to read. However, Goldman writes with a respectable, brutal honesty that opens the reader's eyes to an unfortunate truth: our system does not show kindness to the old, the mentally ill, the obese.

Today, Goldman argues, we have an acute care-focused system that primarily treats those with multiple chronic, conditions. Health policies and institutions including health education cannot adjust fast enough; Goldman essentially shows that traditional medical education does not prepare doctors for the realities of today's healthcare. Sadly, doctors and other healthcare workers receive little to no training or support in handling the emotional, human side of medicine; they end up facing patient anxiety, and even extreme distress with little preparation.

Eminently worth reading, this book may help readers better understand personal medical situations and options by decoding some of the overwhelming jargon. Furthermore, for those who desire a more patient-centred model of medicine, it provides an opportunity to conceptualize some of the challenges faced by our doctors.
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