"WHAT DOCTORS CANNOT TELL YOU," by Dr. Kevin B. Jones, Tallow Books, $15.95, 256 pages (nf)
"What Doctors Cannot Tell You" is not a medical tome nor is it a defense against patients who insist doctors know more than they say.
It's actually a fascinating and eye-opening look into the world of physicians and how they use technology to make a diagnosis and the limitations that come with that albeit state-of-the-art technology.
It may not sound fascinating on its face, but the case studies and the results make this book very readable. It's very illuminating as author Dr. Kevin B. Jones works through a series of medical puzzles that defy simple resolution. (But, let's make it clear, this is not an endorsement of the television show, "House," which the author defines as anything but reality medicine.)
Provocative, informative and based on fact as well as conclusions made from intensive studies, this book explains the frustrations, the surprises and the errors that come with the practice of medicine.
People survive against the odds and hang on long after medical predictions.
Some simply react in a way that changes the way doctors view a particular condition or disease.
Sometimes the accepted practice turns out to be based on a false premise (think leeches and poor sanitary practice).
Jones — who is a research physician practicing at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and the University of Utah — lays it all out and, at the very least, helps the reading public and, hopefully patients unhappy with their doctor's advice, understand why it takes time and trial to figure out the best treatment option.
He makes it clear that most doctors are sincerely trying to make good judgment calls and offer their patients options that will work for them — from whether to go with more radiation for a secondary cancer or what kind of decisions to make once a disease is declared terminal.
He manages to keep the book honest, no small feat given that he's a physician trying to explain how a discipline can be both confident and uncertain in its execution of care.
It's a sympathetic book as well. Concern for the patient comes through clearly.
There's concern and clarity along with a healthy dose of reality. There's no pretense here. In fact, there's frank acknowledgement that doctors aren't superhuman or clairvoyant. They're men and women dealing with factors and information that can be confusing at best and misleading at the worst.
It's long overdue and something to read in the waiting room.
If you go ...
What: Dr. Kevin B. Jones presentation
When: Wednesday, July 11, 7 p.m.
Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.