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  • Tom Ferree

The Merck Manual of Patient Symptoms

Updated: Feb 27, 2020

A Concise, Practical Guide to Etiology, Evaluation, and Treatment

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

Been frustrated with a doctor recently? I sure have been. Medicine is getting so specialized that it seems most doctors have a sub-specialty within a specialty. Last few years I find I am getting fewer and fewer answers. Often the doctor does not know where to send a patient they can’t help.

Challenge I had was where to go for information about some ailment. I wanted more information going in.

Then I found The Merck Manual of Patient Symptoms. It’s written in language that is understandable!

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.

How often have your doctors gone through something this systematically? If you know little going in you can tell if the doctor is who you should be seeing. If you don’t feel comfortable ask him the next recommended steps and why. Don’t be afraid to challenge doctors you are seeing. They are trying to do best they can, but most are overworked and you don’t know what other medical situations are preoccupying them.

Bottom line: Doctors have obligation to answer your questions and lay out a plan of treatment. Don’t be afraid to ask them what would be next: if they were the patient and this treatment doesn’t solve their condition?

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