By Sara Calabro
In the concluding chapter of Hippocrates’ Shadow, author David Newman says, “Secrets beget secrets.”
He’s referring to a vicious circle whereby physicians, overwhelmed by peer, time and system pressures, perpetuate medical practices that they know to be ineffective or even downright dangerous; their inaction breeds misinformation among patients and next-generation doctors, allowing the cycle to continue and worsen as false ideas and unrealistic expectations get lodged deeper and deeper in our collective psyche.
The book reads a bit like this phenomenon: Page by page, chapter by chapter, the sense that our medical system does more harm than good feels increasingly overwhelming. In parts—for example, when Newman digs into a statistical concept known as NNT, or Number Needed to Treat—it can feel like there’s no way out.
Yet on the whole, Hippocrates’ Shadow is actually an uplifting book, a well-written, fun-to-read exposé with optimism at its core. Keep reading