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The Secret Language Of Doctors Hardcover – Apr 29 2014
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
This book is fascinating and incredibly informative about the secret world of medicine. What I loved about it - and Dr. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Katherine H Smith
The book goes through slang that is mostly derogatory and focused on patients. What is missing in this book is looking at medical from the lens of the patient. Read morePublished 15 months ago by R. Harris
Very informative. Quite a candid view of the opinions many doctors have of various types of patients.Published 20 months ago by Gail F
The book is bracing. It is funny. It is humane. Some of Ontario doctors' secret slang is shocking, but chiefly this study of a private code within English is both critical and... Read morePublished on June 1 2014 by Bilko