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October 12 , 2009

What Your Doctor Really Thinks

Diagnosing the Doctor-Patient Relationship


Q. You’ve been sent for a stress test. Does this mean your doctor thinks there’s something wrong with your heart?

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A. Not necessarily. Doctors often schedule stress tests when they are certain a patient’s heart is healthy. So why the test?

In What Your Doctor Really Thinks, Ian Blumer looks at the doctor-patient relationship, and explains what your doctor will and won’t tell you in the examining room. Blumer lets you know what is going on in your physician’s head, and suggests what should be going on in your head, when you present him or her with symptoms. Fatigue, chest pain, headaches, abdominal pain, dizziness, shortness of breath … Blumer covers a variety of symptoms and discusses what direction the examination may take.

This book is a look into the psyche of the doctor and the patient during their meetings. It is a discussion of what both parties might be thinking, but not saying, and it reveals the so-called "mind games" that often take place. It tells people why, without their having even realized it, they have just left a doctor’s office not knowing if the "growth" they have is worrisome or harmless, if they have a dim future or a good one. It tells people why doctors are often evasive, or, at times, downright rude.

What Your Doctor Really Thinks is not an aid to self-diagnosis. It is not a compilation of medical anecdotes glorifying the practice of medicine. And it is not a self-help guide to teach you about the disease that afflicts you. It is, rather, an aid to understanding your doctor, and to understanding yourself. Everyone from the health-conscious to the hypochondriac will find familiar symptoms in Blumer’s book. You may find comfort in knowing that your symptoms are nothing to worry about; or you may find reason to see your doctor about something that may be more serious than you had thought. Regardless, you will learn not just what a doctor’s diagnosis might be; you will also learn why they have made that diagnosis, and what the diagnosis means.

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