How Doctors Think

how doctors think

The major theme of the book "How doctors think" seems to based on examples that illustrate what could go wrong when doctors do not think deeply enough. The book explains with great details in a relatively easy manner how over simplistic thinking by doctors can sometimes result in a wrong diagnosis with profound consequences. In doing so, it goes into details about how medical students develop thier thinking and problem solving skills and how that gets modified and simplified with experience.He also demonstrates the disadvantages of strictly following guidelines instead of using thinking and reasoning based on the unique circumstances of an individual patient. The author worries that this type of simplistic thinking and adherence to algorythms is essentially turning today's physicians into computerised descision machines. With multiple examples, reflections and "thinking processes", the author demonstrates how critical thinking and inviviualised care is essential in providing good care for the patient.In this book, the author tries to envolve the patients(readers) to help the doctor get back to the correct thinking process to reach the right conclusion. He admits that verbal communication is the most important part of the process that shapes the direction of the doctor's thinking and directs what kind of blood tests and x-rays the doctor will order based on his theory of what is wrong with the patient. Even with advanced DNA testing and million dollar MRI machines and nuclear scanners, the doctor can still miss a diagnosis if he is distracted into a wrong thinking process if he fails to detect a simple but important clue from what you are telling him. The book is mostly easy to read and does not require any prevoius medical knowledge for the most part although some chapers are slightly better understood by medical personnel rather than a lay person.

This book has several interesting examples that illustrate the importance of proper doctor-patient communication. The writing style of the author is very interesting and makes you feel like the doctor actually treating the patient when you read these stories and reflections. You will get a very clear idea about the cognitive reasoning process used by the doctors everytime they interact with thier patients. You will also learn about the short-cuts and biased thinking that doctors may develop with their experience and how that can esaily result in a wrong diagnosis or a missed diagnosis. The book also tells you to be proactively question your doctors and help them get back into the right tract and make them rethink, reason and reflect on thier diagnostic impressions and consider alternate diagnosis if the situation warrants.