How Medicine Works and When It Doesn't: Learning Who to Trust to Get and Stay Healthy (Hardcover)
Blending personal anecdotes with hard science, an accomplished physician, researcher, and science communicator gives you the tools to avoid medical misinformation and take control of your health: "A brilliant step toward patients and physicians alike reclaiming a sense of confidence in a system that often feels overwhelming and mismanaged" (Gabby Bernstein, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Universe Has Your Back).
We live in an age of medical miracles. Never in the history of humankind has so much talent and energy been harnessed to cure disease. So why does it feel like it’s getting harder to live our healthiest lives? Why does it seem like “experts” can’t agree on anything, and why do our interactions with medical professionals feel less personal, less honest, and less impactful than ever?
Through stories from his own practice and historical case studies, Dr. F. Perry Wilson, a physician and researcher from the Yale School of Medicine, explains how and why the doctor-patient relationship has eroded in recent years and illuminates how profit-driven companies—from big Pharma to healthcare corporations—have corrupted what should have been medicine’s golden age. By clarifying the realities of the medical field today, Dr. Wilson gives readers the tools they need to make informed decisions, from evaluating the validity of medical information online to helping caregivers advocate for their loved ones, in the doctor’s office and with the insurance company.
Dr. Wilson wants readers to understand medicine and medical science the way he does: as an imperfect and often frustrating field, but still the best option for getting well. To restore trust between patients, doctors, medicine, and science, we need to be honest, we need to know how to spot misinformation, and we need to avoid letting skepticism ferment into cynicism. For it is only by redefining what “good medicine” is—science that is well-researched, rational, safe, effective, and delivered with compassion, empathy, and trust—that the doctor-patient relationship can be truly healed.
About the Author
F. Perry Wilson, MD grew up in Connecticut before attending Harvard College, where he graduated with Honors in Biochemistry. He then attended medical school at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, before completing his internship, residency, and fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2012, he received a master’s degree in Clinical Epidemiology, which has informed his research ever since. At Yale, since 2014, his goal has been to use patient-level data and advanced analytics to personalize medicine to each individual patient. To that end, he holds multiple NIH grants and is the Director of Yale’s Clinical and Translational Research Accelerator. Dr. Wilson is internationally recognized for his expertise in the design and interpretation of medical studies, and has appeared on CNN, HLN, NPR, MedPageToday.com, Medscape.com, Vox.com, the Huffington Post and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, among others. His free online course, entitled “Understanding Medical Research: Your Facebook Friend Is Wrong” is one of the most popular courses on Coursera.org.
“With the premise that trust is the key ingredient that’s missing in modern medicine, Dr. Perry Wilson lays the groundwork for a paradigm-shifting view of the physician-patient relationship. He also offers a transformative take on how to process the endless wealth of health information (and disinformation) that’s available to us. This book is a brilliant step toward patients and physicians alike reclaiming a sense of confidence in a system that often feels overwhelming and mismanaged. Its message is one of healing and hope.”—Gabby Bernstein, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Universe Has Your Back
"There is a dire need for better—more honest—conversations between doctors and patients. This book is a crucial step towards this. An insightful and compassionate look at how we can start to fix what might be broken."—Emily Oster, New York Times bestselling author of Cribsheet, Expecting Better, and The Family Firm
"A unique, brutally honest, informative, and practical guide for patients. Dr. Perry Wilson’s outstanding storytelling combines with his remarkable ability as an explainer to shine a light on what real medical evidence looks like—as opposed to all the miscues, misinformation, and scams—to build trust and help restore the patient-doctor relationship."—Eric Topol, MD, Professor and EVP Scripps Research, Author of Deep Medicine
“Perhaps the most honest and brave book about healthcare you’ll ever read. Certainly the most useful!”—Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, Author of When We Do Harm and What Doctors Feel
“Dr. Wilson takes us on a tour of the challenges of modern medicine in the disinformation age, with keen observation and personal stories throughout. He shows us how science and critical thinking are compassionate when it comes to healthcare, and how patients and doctors need to work together to navigate through all the nonsense and quick fixes. Highly recommended for practitioners and patients alike.”—Dr. Steven Novella, Co-author of The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe
"At a time of increased medical uncertainty, Dr. Wilson provides a comprehensive look under the hood, without going over your head."—Dr. Mikhail "Mike" Varshavski, D.O.
“What a refreshing book. The entertaining and lucid stories take the reader through the ‘trust hacks’ that undermine our ability to make sensible decisions about our health. Who can benefit from reading this book? Every doctor and every patient—all of us!” —Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Former CDC director and President of Resolve to Save Lives
"A trenchant, empowering look at how to fix doctor-patient relationships." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Mixing hard data with personal anecdotes, Wilson sets out a convincing case, and he does not ignore the difficulties of making these changes . . . In an unstinting appraisal of the profession, Wilson effectively diagnoses the issues and looks for new paths forward."—Kirkus
"Wilson comes across as a compassionate, empathetic physician who wants people to be able to trust medicine."—Booklist