WWB’s ‘Book Wise’ Club Pick: When Doctors Don’t Listen–How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests
WWB’s Wise Guru/Author Bio: Dr. Leana Wen is a Harvard-educated emergency physician, Rhodes Scholar, TED speaker, and author of the best-selling book,When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests (Co-authored with Dr. Joshua Kosowsky, M.D.)
Dr. Wen is a practicing attending physician and Director of Patient-Centered Care in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University. A professor of emergency medicine and health policy, she co-leads a new national collaboration on health policy and social mission, and serves as founding director of Who’s My Doctor, a campaign calling for radical transparency in medicine.
In addition to World Wise Beauty, she has been featured in Time, Newsweek, ABC News, NPR, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the award-winning HBO documentary Reporter. A professional speaker for ten years, she has given three popular TED talks, and lectures around the U.S. and internationally on patient-centered care and healthcare reform.
Lauroly Opening: Welcome Dr. Wen to World Wise Beauty. I am honored to have you join us and I’m such an admirer of your work. It takes courage to step out of the “tribe’ you run with, and in your case the tribe is the medical establishment you are a part of. After I read your book, I likened it to another great book I read called ‘Emperor of All Maladies’ and then I noticed the author was one of your top reviewers on your back cover! I say your book is ‘great’ because I think it is incredibly hard to step back and be objective about what we are doing when we are in the ‘trenches’ of our work. It’s must be so hard to critique your own field of expertise when to an extent you are ‘indoctrinated’ with training and conditioning from the moment you enter medical school. I commend you for your personal insight and your bravery to step up and challenge your own peers.
I am also thrilled to announce your book has been chosen as the first WWB ‘Book Wise’ club pick. While there are many excellent books out there, I select books that speak to my two important missions for World Wise Beauty. The first one is to advance wellness culture through enlightenment and education. The second one is to help women embrace beauty from the inside out and to encourage them to be comfortable in their own skin. Your very important book has been selected because you are clearly determined to advance wellness culture. There is so much information to glean from your book, so let’s get started!
Lauroly Q- Some people refer to your work as ‘disruptive’ which is a trendy, mostly positive term used today when alternative options and ideas are introduced. I see your book as simply enlightening because you really try to get at the real problem in today’s medical practice for both doctors and patients. You give us the full balanced picture of how the practice of medicine has advanced in some areas but also has lost its way, and particularly when it comes to listening to the patient and making a diagnosis. Why is it more important than ever for patients to be their own strong advocate when interacting with medical professionals? I do want to point out that your book is not about fear or blame, it’s about knowledge and empowerment for both medical practitioners and patients.
Lauroly Q- Throughout the book you have ‘911 Action Tips’ and ‘911 reviews’ after each chapter. It’s so informative and I believe the most important one you share is on page 152– ‘Be Involved in your personal exam’. I do have to say, when you’re in pain and distress, it isn’t always easy to think and communicate clearly! As you just mentioned, doctors today are under more pressure to see more patients in less time. This is a big issue you cover comprehensively from all sides of the fence.
The only area I didn’t find you covered is my next important question. You are asking your own field to essentially stop giving unnecessary tests but aren’t hospitals ‘for profit’ centers and isn’t their technology and tests a huge part of their profit centers? I couldn’t help but think about this big elephant in the room. Is a doctor’s end goal to heal or make profits for their hospital and practice? Perhaps there is a ‘value crisis’ in the practice of medicine? I don’t think doctors think like this from day to day, but as you point out so well in your book, they are conditioned from the moment they enter med school. I know this is a difficult question to tackle but I believe you are up to the challenge!
Lauroly Closing: Thank you so much for stopping by Dr. Wen. I am recommending that EVERYONE read your book “When Doctors Don’t Listen’. I know my followers will see why it has been selected as the first WWB ‘Book Wise’ pick. I look forward to seeing you out there advocating for us! WWB will do its best to promote your book because it teaches us, enlightens us, and most importantly empowers us to become ‘wise’ about our own health and medical care. We all have to be wise gurus for ourselves and our families. Go wisely my friends…