Critical Decisions Cover

Critical Decisions

How You and Your Doctor Can Make the Right Medical Choices Together

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The diagnosis is prostate cancer. The patient, overwhelmed by the bad news, has to figure out the relative pros and cons of surgery, radiation and ‘watchful waiting’.

The young woman is in a persistent vegetative state. Her parents decide that it is time to take her off the ventilator that is keeping her alive. But her doctor refuses.

The operation will slow the patient’s death, not cure her. Partway through the procedure, her surgeon realizes that removing her throat tumor will leave her without speech but that halting the surgery will expose her to infection. Should he continue to operate?

What are the best medical choices for these people?

For us?

Who should be making these critical decisions?

Health care has come a long way since the days when doctors withheld bad news and made every decision in patient treatment. In today’s world of “patient empowerment,” patients have been told they hold all the cards. But even if that were true (and it’s not!), most wouldn’t know how to play them anyway.

In this book I show how hidden dynamics in the doctor/patient relationship keep us, and our loved ones, from making the best medical choices. From doctors who struggle to explain, to patients who fail to properly listen, countless factors alter the course of our care, causing things to go seriously awry.

I discuss how patients and doctors can learn to become partners, and work together to make the right choices. From whether to get surgery to deciding whether the side effects of a blood pressure medication are worth the trouble, we can discover the tools to improve communication, understand the issues, and make confident decisions for our future health and happiness.

Coming in Fall 2012

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