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How We Do Harm

This book was required for class (my last class!!), but it was an interesting and timely read. Although it was published in 2012, it is still relevant with how healthcare functions in America today. How We Do Harm by Otis Webb Brawley, MD is an insider look at various aspects of healthcare from a doctor’s perspective. Brawley is currently the Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society and spent years working at Emory and Grady Memorial Hospital here in Atlanta. He goes through various case studies and examples of how the healthcare system fails patients in all aspects – medically, in research, financially, and through insurance. And unfortunately not much has changed since he wrote this book. It was eye opening. Anyone who has to see a doctor, especially for something serious, likes to think that doctor is giving good advice that will benefit you best as a patient, but Brawley shows that is not always the case. Luckily, looking back, my many doctors have always ranked on the “good guy” side, but it would be easy to not realize that you are being given bad advice, or worse, actual treatment. And that’s scary.

I highly recommend this book. I did skim through a lot of the specific medical talk, but you can do that and still get the bigger picture. We all have some claim in the healthcare system – you have insurance, you see a doctor occasionally, or you need regular treatment from a physician. And we can all learn something from this book to make us better consumers of the medical practice.

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