Misdiagnosed: One Woman’s Tour of- And Escape from-HealthCareLand by Jody Berger (3 out of 5)
Jody Berger is a 43 year old woman with a fulfilling career, athleticism, and a new outlook on life after a divorce and subsequent meeting of someone who isn’t a shoe thief. Life is going well until she decides to seek treatment for a slight tingling in her hands and feet. The first doctor diagnoses her with multiple sclerosis after one MRI, really doesn’t answer any of her questions or sidesteps her concerns with indifference, gives her four pages of probable drugs that she can go on to alleviate symptoms, and that’s the beginning of her nightmare. Specialist after specialist after specialist all give her different answers, attitudes, drugs, and some, outright indifference, to her questions and concerns about her health. It is, after all, HER HEALTH. This is not a book for those who believe in shiny, happy healthcare systems to read. It will wake you up, and fast. Personally, I have a number of friends who have been misdiagnosed with any number of ailments and illnesses through the years, been put on ridiculous amounts of drugs, and met with nothing more than a slew of new symptoms brought on by the treatment of the illness that got them there in the first place. One friend of mine in particular, has been put through the ringer with doctors, missed diagnoses, and even surgeries that were not completely done. To see them go through that, you feel so powerless and no amount of advice can help them, and that feeling was brought back reading this book. It is a honest, straightforward look at how doctors often stop at the easiest diagnosis and often don’t bother to truly LISTEN to their patients. If Jody Berger had one doctor who actually stopped and listened, she would not have gone through years of hell with misdiagnoses, multiple medications that brought on unnecessary side effects, and the emotional tumult that resulted from that. Her story is incredible and nauseating all at the same time.
Perhaps the most nauseating part of this is that she’s right on the money and it’s happening everywhere. Jody finally gets her illness correctly diagnosed (and by a doctor that she finds, no less) and begins the long road back to health. Thankfully, she has a great support network and a new man in her life who can help her navigate the treacherous road from medical mayhem to eventual healing. A support system is key to the entire process of one who’s been misdiagnosed. Jody also talks about those who thought they were helping with unwittingly stupid remarks that only made her feel worse. There’s a lot of straight talk all the way through this book, and you’re grateful for that fact. You’re also grateful that she gets her health back in her hands by the end of the book. Multiple sclerosis? Not the culprit. When you read what is, you’ll never believe what they put her through to get to that diagnosis. I highly recommend it to anyone who’s had a healthcare system fallacy. I also recommend reading it at the hospital while your father is being admitted. The looks on the faces of the doctors? Priceless. As is Jody’s story.