Select one of the keywords
Power to the Patient: The Treatments to Insist on When You're Sick    by Isadore Rosenfeld order for
Power to the Patient
by Isadore Rosenfeld
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Softcover

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Wesley Williamson

Its sub-title 'The Treatments To Insist On When You're Sick' points out the most important difference between this book and the many other medical compendiums on the market. As well as describing a disease, its symptoms and treatment, Dr. Rosenfeld also devotes an additional section for each condition to detail exactly what patients should expect from their doctors and what they should do if they don't get it. I'm sure nearly all of us have felt that we needed more from the system, but just couldn't find the right words and facts to back up our intuitive feeling that we were being short-changed. Dr. Rosenfield fills a heartfelt need.

He covers 39 different ailments in alphabetical order, ranging from acne through chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and multiple sclerosis to urinary incontinence. Generally, he describes the condition and its possible causes; risk factors and symptoms; and the various treatment options; always, and most unusually, from the point of view of the patient.

To quote from the introduction 'We often want and need to know what to do about such mundane symptoms as a nagging ache; a low-grade fever; heart palpitations; transient diarrhea or constipation; more fatigue than usual. Ordinarily, these complaints do not warrant a visit to the emergency room, but they can be worrisome and potentially serious. You should know what they mean and what to do about them and whether it's important that your doctor sees you quickly.' To quote again 'For knowledge is power and when it concerns your health, it can save your life.'

Although the book does not neglect men (gout has a section to itself), women may find it especially useful for a number of reasons. The most important is that it is an accepted fact that, by and large, women are not treated as well as men by the medical establishment, and need proportionately more weapons to fight back. Dr. Rosenfeld provides the weapons; he details the necessary treatments including tests and medications, which the patient should insist on; when she should insist on having a second opinion; and when she should insist on hospitalization. The doctor does not always know best, and even when he (or she) does, they may not, for various reasons, worthy and unworthy, divulge that knowledge to the patient.

U.S. readers, who must grapple with private insurers, or Medicare, or Managed Care companies, will probably gain more from the book than Canadians, for the simple reason that they have more to gain, and more to lose. However, the Medical Establishment is the same Medical Establishment, North and South of the border and many Canadians will warmly welcome the factual knowledge needed to ensure that the diagnosis and treatment provided is the very best that is available for you, an individual, and not just the statistically average patient.

Though Power to the Patient is definitely a book you should buy for your reference shelf (to dip into when you need it), read it first before you shelve it. Dr. Rosenfeld provides easy reading and occasional flashes of wit to lighten a somewhat depressing subject. I sincerely hope that this volume is successful enough that he immediately starts on a sequel dissecting the next 40 ailments in the same inimitable manner.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more NonFiction books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews