The Bottom Line
This book looks at healthcare in the US and gives very good advice on how to navigate through the bureaucracy and paternalism of medicine to avoid human error and get the best care you can. Malone uses his experiences as an attorney in medical malpractice cases to identify pitfalls and help you avoid them.
- Easy to read and understand
- Doesn't dwell on the negative: includes many success stories
- Great discussion on statistics and studies
- Not enough content on emergencies
- Written by Patrick Malone
- Published by Da Capo Press
- Paperback, 296 pages including notes and index
- 17 Chapters and 3 Appendices
- ISBN: 978-0-7382-1304-0
Guide Review - The Life You Save
There aren't too many nonfiction books that I would consider poetic. While The Life You Save wasn't all flowery prose, the opening sentence was profound enough that I had to read it aloud to my wife.
"The sound patients make when they fall off the earth is so quiet that hardly anyone can hear it," writes Malone on page one. This point of view is a recurring theme in the book as Malone shows how squeaky wheels do indeed get the grease and how the quiet among us are summarily forgotten. He spends the next 17 chapters teaching us when and how to be really squeaky.
One of the things I liked best about The Life You Save is how Malone uses real patient experiences to illustrate his nine steps (which are really more like 13 steps). Most of these vignettes come from Malone's own clients and the doctors who wronged them, but some are patient advocates with their own stories to tell. Imagine my surprise to see About.com's own Guide to Patient Empowerment, Trisha Torrey, profiled as a success story of how to do it right.
Malone doesn't have a lot of information in the book about protecting yourself in the case of an emergency. Indeed, he incorrectly chalks up ER care as just so much luck. I think he underestimates what a strong advocate can do for a patient in the emergency department. That being said, The Life You Save is a great book for anyone concerned about getting the best medical care possible, patients and not-quite-yet-patients alike.