Harvard Medical School professor Jerome Groopman has written a gripping collection of essays that portray American doctors as a cold-hearted bunch, more concerned with rote solutions than with their patients. Groopman indicts the medical profession for paying more attention to the bottom line than to wellness.

The case studies in "Second Opinions" are horrifying. Take Groopman's patient who had been diagnosed as asthmatic. Asthma medicine wasn't helping, and she felt sure she suffered from something other than asthma. But her doctors ignored her. When Groopman finally examined her, he realized she had leukemia.

Doctors' need more than a friendlier bed-side manner, says Groopman. They need to pay attention to their patients' intuitions--the woman with leukemia knew long before her doctors listened that something far more serious than asthma was wrong.

Anyone who has been treated by doctors--but not treated well by them--will find "Second Chances" disturbingly familiar. Even readers who have never experienced shoddy care will be outraged. One can only hope that doctors listen up--to Groopman, and to their patients.

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