Surviving Your Doctors by Richard S. Klein, M.D. – Book Review

“Every year at least 100,000 patients die in our American hospitals because of malpractice.  You might want to read that statistic again.  It is more than the number of soldiers who died in the Korean and Vietnam wars combined.

Every year.

That is like having 300 jumbo jets crash and kill everyone!

Every year!

Or one jumbo jet crashing almost every day!

And that figure doesn’t represent those who are hurt or maimed, which is probably two to three times that number.  And the price to these individuals, their families, and society at large is approximately $30 billion annually!  The financial and human costs are staggering.”

So starts the book” Surviving Your Doctors: Why the Medical System is Dangerous to Your Health and How to Get Through it Alive” by Richard S. Klein, M.D.  If you think this first portion is mind boggling, you’ll want to check the rest of the book for certain.  Initially the title brought to my mind the possibilities of an over-the-top book, perhaps someone who’d watched too many news programs.  But I was taken by the fact that it is indeed written by a doctor.  Couple that with the fact that our health care system isn’t exactly known to be pristine, and one can’t help but take a closer look with the aid of this book.

Dr. Klein isn’t out to scare us, however.  His mission is to inform and prepare.  Having seen firsthand the devastation malpractice can heap upon a family, he has taken the opportunity to show his insight.  He was a primary care physician for 38 years, and he’s witnessed numerous mistakes made while his patients underwent faulty hospital tests, were misdiagnosed by specialists, and were improperly operated on or cared for in hospitals.  He’s lost family members to misdiagnosis, even his wife whose lung cancer wasn’t detected in early x-rays when it should have been.  And he spent 20 years of his life testifying in malpractice lawsuits.  If anyone is fit to give you advice on bettering your healthcare experience, it’s this man.

Dr. Klein also discusses in detail how to prepare yourself for a basic checkup, an operation, pregnancy, even trips to the emergency room.  He states that being prepared, asking lots of questions, even checking up on a doctor’s record beforehand can help you avoid dangerous – even deadly – pitfalls.

While it is true most doctors aren’t careless individuals, the few who are can cause plenty of trouble.  Pair that with an insurance system that rewards doctors who avoid giving their patients costly (yet often necessary) testing, and pharmaceutical companies with their fingers in the medical pie as well, and a trip to the doctor’s office can seem daunting.  But with a copy of “Surviving Your Doctors” at your side, you’ll no doubt feel much more confident and prepared, able to ask the right questions, and gather the information that will help keep you and your family safe and healthy.

4 thoughts on “Surviving Your Doctors by Richard S. Klein, M.D. – Book Review

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  2. Thank goodness one day I couldn’t get in to see my primary care physician and had to see a nurse practitioner instead. She really listened to me and got the tests ordered that I truly needed. From those tests I was finally diagnosed with Severe Achalasia and pneumonia caused from the choaking. I finally got the surgery I needed.
    However, the Doctor’s have yet to diagnose the genetic neurological condition which caused the achalasia and now new problems from it. They won’t test me for two genetic conditions which with much research I think it could be. Granted even if I was told what genetic condition it is, it wouldn’t cure the problem, but maybe at least I’d get the proper treatment and have less related pain.
    I’ve pretty much given up on the medical field, even though I used to be a nurse myself. After 13 and a half years trying to get Doctor’s to listen and believe me, I’ve had enough and have chosen to never see Doctor’s again. It’s not right that they don’t believe a person just because they aren’t bawling their eyes out in front of people. I think military doctor’s are totally the worse for military spouses.
    I think they really only want to treat the soldier’s and the rest of us are just pains in their behinds.
    I’ve changed doctor’s several times in the military system trying to find one that has true compassion, but found none!
    So I believe that this Doctor is right in writing this book.
    I thank him. I believe that most errors are caused by Doctor’s that have either lost their compassion and caring, or never had it in the first place.

  3. And that’s what’s so great about this book: if you’re afraid of going to the doctor, it really helps you understand what it is you should ask, and what you should know going in. He stresses over and over that it’s not only okay to ask questions, it’s necessary. I think most of us think we are supposed to just listen to our doctor, and we end up leaving the appointment wondering why we didn’t ask this or that. He gives you ideas of questions to ask, even encourages taking a list with you (which I do and always felt like a real nerd). I wish you all the best, Lauralee! Sounds like you haven’t had an easy go of things!

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