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Book and Media Reviews
April 1, 2009

Patient, Heal Thyself: How the New Medicine Puts the Patient in Charge

JAMA. 2009;301(13):1388-1389. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.386

In Patient, Heal Thyself: How the New Medicine Puts the Patient in Charge, Robert Veatch describes the transition from medical paternalism to current-day modern medicine as a halfway transition from “physician knows best” to patient empowerment. In this book, Veatch explores the next steps that will be required to fully empower patients. While modern medicine gives deference to the primacy of the patient and his or her active role in shared decision making, in the new medicine there is a much greater realization that every medical decision involves facts and values and that the patient knows best. While physicians can provide medical expertise on technical matters of diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment options, the new medicine will require “a much more active patient in charge of choosing which options are best for his or her own medical decisions” (p ix).

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