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Winner of the 2013 Human Rights Literature Award

We put much store in freedom of choice, but when it comes to our own medical diagnosis and treatment, are we equipped to make the best decisions? And are healthcare professionals properly prepared to guide us? Alarmingly, oncologist and award-winning writer Ranjana Srivastava says they're not, and people are suffering — even dying — as a result.

The internet encourages people to self-diagnose and browse for expensive and often unnecessary specialist attention, while healthcare workers feel bound to provide whatever service a patient requests, even if they know it to be risky, of dubious value, or a delay of the inevitable. And as doctors increasingly specialise, they offer patients only a small part of the puzzle of their health, crucially lacking an overall picture.

Srivastava contends that the best medicine should begin with a good chat. But our doctors are often ill equipped for the task. In her frank and clear-eyed assessment of an unacknowledged crisis, she makes an impassioned case for healthcare training to incorporate effective communication skills alongside advanced medicine.
'A humane treatise exploring the relationship between doctors and their patients'West Australian

Formats & editions

  • EBook


    November 26, 2012

    Penguin eBooks

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
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  • Paperback


    April 24, 2013


    96 pages

    RRP $9.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Awards and Recognition

  • Human Rights Award
    Literature Award

Also by Ranjana Srivastava

After Cancer: Penguin Special
So It's Cancer: Now What?
Tell Me the Truth: Conversations with my patients about life and death


No Middle Name
Seven Stones to Stand or Fall
Eat Right 4 Your Type
Paris For One And Other Stories
Men Without Women
At My Table
Up the Duff: The Real Guide to Pregnancy
Women Who Run With The Wolves
The Language of Kindness
Last Stories
The Penguin Book Of Japanese Short Stories
The Boat
The Pier Falls
The Shore
Uncommon Type
The Christmas Stocking and Other Stories
Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View
The Lose Your Belly Diet
Homesick For Another World
The Start of Something