Sunday, March 18, 2007

This Doctor Really Thinks

One of our national treasures is a gentleman named Jerome Groopman. An accomplished clinician, researcher, and teacher, Jerry is also a great writer. (And he is Chief of Experimental Medicine at BIDMC.) He has a new book, called How Doctors Think (published by Houghton Mifflin.)

Check out this interview from the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric from Friday night. Here is a small part:

"One of my misdiagnoses was a woman who I found irritating," Groopman says. "And we all have people that irritate us. She was complaining of discomfort under the center of her chest. And I basically closed my mind. I gave her antacids and stopped thinking. And it turned out that she had a tear in the aorta; the major vessel that leaves the heart."

Groopman admits that patient died.

Then read the excerpt from the book on the same website.

On this blog, I have made a number of postings and responded to a lot of comments about how to improve health care in hospitals. I do it from the perspective a non-doctor, with just a short time running a hospital. Jerry brings a whole different dimension to the discussion. This is an incredibly valuable book.

Also, get a chance to view the guy in action on the Colbert Report tomorrow and Tuesday. Oh my gawd, did I just say the Colbert Report? Jerry, quick, call me!!!


Elliott said...

I don't mean to be overly critical, but I think that you should point out that Dr. Groopman is Chief of Experimental Medicine at BIDMC. It's certainly not a negative.

I look forward to reading this book looking for insights in not just how doctors think about medical diagnoses, but also how they might think about nurses, administrators, malpractice, EMRs and a whole host of other issues. I don't know that he addresses these issues directly, but maybe I can glean some idea of the processes that can be generalized.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I didn't want to clutter the posting itself with that, but it is in the first link I embedded in the story. At your suggestion, I'll add it.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Groopman also had a good piece in today's Boston Globe. Here's the link:

Also, there was a good interview on NPR recently in which he was a participant (perhaps related to his recent book release - I just happened to tune into the station while driving, and caught just a sketch, so I don't remember when or what, just that it caught my attention).

Thanks to both you and Dr. Groopman for making these interesting debates and views into the medical world so accessible to all of us members of the general public!

Anonymous said...

I just watched Dr. Groopman on The Colbert Report. It was, in a word, bizarre. The good doctor wanted to discuss his book and Colbert just wanted to be Colbert. I hope it helps his books sales!

Anonymous said...

It was, indeed, an interesting interview -- exactly along the lines you state!

Anonymous said...

A message for Dr. G:

I want your PR agent! What a great campaign. We writers of the world salute you.

And what you're doing is fantastic. Like "me" above, I first heard you on Terri Gross. When she asked what you said to the woman with the "tear in the aorta" after you realized your mistake, I screamed at the radio, "She died!" as you said, "She died." Thank you for telling this story--and all the others.

There are so many of us who've been dx'd and dismissed in the blink of an eye. It took eighteen years for me to learn that debilitating fatigue and perpetual numbness were signs of MS, not "stress"--and, in my case, it was discovered by accident (brain MRI showed "plaque consistent with MS"). But to the credit of my beloved neurologist, from that hospital on the other side of Boston, once properly identified, there have been no missteps since and he's provided excellent, truly superior, care, including house calls. He listens and you, Dr. G, are teaching us the secret code for getting other docs to listen. Very laudable. May you have 100,000 thank-yous in the form of book sales.

Anonymous said...

Sun, April 1, 2007, NY Times Book Review, likes Dr. Groopman's book. Writes reviewer Michael Crichton: "It is this direct and honest voice that drives the narratives of this remarkable book. Here is Groopman at the peak of his form, as a physician and as a writer. Readers will relish the result." Doesn't get much better than that.