Friday, September 21, 2007

review - "You: The Smart Patient" chock full of tips

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At first glance, the flip tone and cartoon-like presentation of You: The Smart Patient seemed destined to undermine the serious nature of the subject matter. Yet, it didn't take me long to realize how valuable a resource it truly is for anyone interacting with the health care system. And since that group will include each and every single one of us at some point, I consider this an essential tome for every home library.

You: The Smart Patient: An Insider's Guide for Getting the Best Treatment
by Mehmet C. Oz and Michael F. Rozen

One of the book's most valuable features is explanation of medical terminology and abbreviations. Doctors quite literally speak a different language (Latin), and it is invaluable to know what your doctor is talking about when she prescribes a medication to be taken "prn," for example (meaning "as needed").

Additionally, the authors wisely include checklists for everything from choosing a doctor or hospital to questions to ask your doctor about a new treatment or diagnosis, as well as resources for exploring covered topics in more depth on your own.

Finally, the book includes a section on patient rights and legal considerations. With illness comes uncertainty and fear, both of which can make it difficult to ascertain your rights and to assert them.

The book is written in an accessible tone that demystifies some of the most intimidating knowledge we deal with in our day-to-day lives.

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