392 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 12 tables, bibl., index
H. Eugene and Lillian Youngs Lehman Series
A Prescription for Health in an Overtreated America
At a time when access to health care in the United States is being widely debated, Nortin Hadler argues that an even more important issue is being overlooked. Although necessary health care should be available to all who need it, he says, the current health-care debate assumes that everyone requires massive amounts of expensive care to stay healthy. Hadler urges that before we commit to paying for whatever pharmaceutical companies and the medical establishment tell us we need, American consumers need to adopt an attitude of skepticism and arm themselves with enough information to make some of their own decisions about what care is truly necessary.
Each chapter of Worried Sick is an object lesson regarding the uses and abuses of a particular type of treatment, such as mammography, colorectal screening, statin drugs, or coronary stents. For consumers and medical professionals interested in understanding the scientific basis for Hadler's arguments, each topical chapter has an accompanying source chapter in which Hadler discusses the medical literature and studies that inform his critique.
According to Hadler, a major stumbling block to rational health-care policy in the United States is contention over the very concept of what constitutes good health. By learning to distinguish good medical advice from persuasive medical marketing, consumers can make better decisions about their personal health and use that wisdom to inform their perspectives on health-policy issues.
"[Dr. Hadler] is a longtime debunker of much that the establishment holds dear. . . . Reviewing the data behind many of the widely endorsed medical truths of our day, he concludes that most come up too short on benefit and too high on risk to justify widespread credence. . . . Raise[s] serious questions."
--The New York Times
"Challenging conventional medical wisdom, [Hadler] advises a healthy skepticism about the benefits of drugs, routine tests, and many common medical procedures. . . . Educate[s] [readers] on being far better health-care consumers. . . . [A] provocative look at the U.S. medical system."
"To change unrealistic expectations about longevity or lives without pain or illness bucks vested interests, but that is what Hadler does. . . . He knows that the changes he proposes are a long shot, but when people demand that medicine stop doing unnecessary things well, reform becomes possible. Recommended."
"This book challenges readers to alter their notions about health maintenance, discarding beliefs about the efficacy of certain medications, screening tests, and procedures. . . . This thoughtful message from an experienced medical practitioner has merit and may convince the general public to advocate more forcefully for change."
"Having guidelines for reimbursement that went through a Hadlerian analysis is not a bad place to start reducing medical care costs without reducing the quality of patient outcomes. A much more politically attractive, and potentially quite effective, reform would make it routine for patients to be exposed to Hadler's kind of analyses whenever they are asked to consider any significant medical intervention."
--Journal of the American Medical Association
"A withering critique. . . . [Hadler has] the knowledge, power, and moral obligation to reject the false coin of commerce and technological hype and to reassert the primacy of the patient."
--New England Journal of Medicine
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