Before I tear the last page from my 2022 calendar (yes! I still love my big paper calendars!), here’s my annual look back at what my readers were reading this past year on Heart Sisters. It was indeed a freakishly weird year for this site: the first time since its launch in 2009, for example, that I took a complete summer break from writing about women and heart disease. This happened unexpectedly after I became utterly obsessed with my newest passion: trying to grow roses in pots out on my balcony. (If you’re a rose lover, you can find the archived gardening updates I wrote all summer, starting here). Spoiler alert: like many things in life, this summer adventure turned out to be mostly about managing unrealistic expectations. . . Meanwhile, here are the five Heart Sisters posts that were most popular in 2022: Continue reading “Top 5 most popular Heart Sisters posts from 2022”
I’ve often wondered – long before my own cardiac misdiagnosis – how our physicians can possibly correctly diagnose the countless medical mysteries presented to them day after day. The reality, of course, is that no doctor – even the most experienced and skilled – can be 100 per cent certain of the precise cause of every medical problem out there. And if the cause can’t be identified, the mystery won’t likely be appropriately solved.
But when doctors don’t know, how do they communicate that uncertainty to their patients? . Continue reading “When doctors won’t say “I don’t know””
You could do last-minute Christmas shopping for another scented candle or pottery vase (that just might end up some day on somebody’s yard sale table together). But if you have a woman in your life who has been diagnosed with heart disease, you could choose a truly useful gift this year. Here’s why, in my admittedly biased view, that gift could be my book, A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease. And Santa can even save 30% off the cover price when ordering from my publisher, Johns Hopkins University Press!) * Continue reading “What to get for the heart patient who has (almost) everything”
In September, I mentioned here an important book written by Dr. Alyson McGregor, an Emergency physician and associate professor of medicine at Brown University. The book: “Sex Matters: How Male-Centric Medicine Endangers Women’s Health and What We Can Do About It“. Her first chapter opens with a story about Julie, a 32-year old woman she met in her Emergency department one day – a story that’s disturbingly familiar to women like me whose heart attack has been misdiagnosed: . Continue reading “Modern medicine is male-centric medicine, and that’s a problem for women.”
The Emergency physician who misdiagnosed my heart attack displayed not even a whiff of uncertainty while delivering that misdiagnosis. “YOU” – he declared confidently – “are in the right demographic for acid reflux!” (without any gastrointestinal diagnostic tests). He sent me home that day with instructions to ask my family doctor to prescribe antacid drugs for my symptoms (central chest pain, nausea, sweating and pain down my left arm). I now suspect that, if only that confident doc would have bothered to Google my symptoms, both he and Dr. Google would have landed on the same search result: myocardial infarction (heart attack).
But in fact, he seemed remarkably certain despite being remarkably wrong. . Continue reading “Diagnostic Uncertainty vs. Unwarranted Certainty: which is worse for patients?”