• Tom Ferree

Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy-19th Edition

Updated: Feb 28

Robert S Porter MD, Editor in Chief, Justin L Kaplan, Sr Assistant Editor


This is the world’s largest selling medical text. Frequently used as a reference by doctors. More technical than I would like, but gives me details that a doctor might not share unless prompted. (Doctors have to evaluate how much the patient really wants to know, and how much the patient is capable of understanding.) Our role as patients is to be sure doctor understands what we expect. I often start with The Merck Manual of Patient Symptoms and then turn to this book for detailed information. (Telling doctor I was in Merck Manuals gets their attention. They immediately know I am serious about answers.)






Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy is a reference source frequently used by doctors and other medical professionals. This is the world’s largest selling medical text. When something is wrong I start with Merck Manual of Patient Symptoms. That gives me information in understandable English.


Then coming to this reference source I can learn enough to ask doctor or PA questions that indicate some knowledge. It enables me to level the playing field with the doctor. (Telling doctor or PA I was in Merck Manuals gets their attention. They immediately know I am serious about answers.)


Leveling that playing field is really important. Doctors are in a high stress job and often working long hours. When we are seeing a doctor we don’t know what has happened in their day. Did they just leave a patient after having an end of life conversation? Those are tough situations for anyone to “set aside and get on with the day”. As patients we need to give them couple minutes to switch gears from last patient to us. BUT NO MORE THAN THAT.

Each patient deserves doctors or PA’s total attention and concentration.


Each short chapter has several sections. Starts with symptoms and then goes into etiology (the causes), evaluating severity, how to interpret what doctors or PA are saying, kinds of testing that may be recommended, and treatment.


In my view, every family needs both of these Merck manuals.






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