Dr. Lisa Sanders, the author of the New York Times Magazine’s “Diagnosis” column, will present the lecture, “Every Patient Tells a Story: Using History in Diagnosis and Treatment,” at 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18, in the Auditorium at the Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences on Quinnipiac University’s North Haven Campus. This event, part of the university’s Campus Cross Talk Series, is free and open to the public.
“It is common in medicine to extoll the importance of listening to the patient in order to develop a strong and meaningful connection between patient and provider,” Sanders said. “This is, of course, an important reason to listen to what your patient has to say, but it is by no means the only one.”
Sanders, a board-certified internist who is an assistant professor at the Yale School of Medicine, will present research on how the patient’s story helps the provider make a diagnosis. After her talk, she will sign copies of her book, which will be available for purchase.
“At the turn of the last century, Sir William Osler exhorted his trainees to ‘Listen to the patient; he will tell you what he has.’ It turns out that’s true and we have the research to prove it,” Sanders said. “We don’t always listen and I look into why that may be. Listening to the patient can also give you important data on his/her health literacy and attitudes about illness and medications which will help you figure out how to best to communicate with them, and there is very good data to suggest that effective communication helps people suffer less and heal faster.”
In addition to her column, Sanders also contributes to the New York Times health blog, “Well.” Her monthly “Think Like a Doctor” feature, like her column, explores how a doctor is able to make a diagnosis in patients whose baffling symptoms have brought them back to the office or emergency room time after time. In the blog, readers are invited to think through these tough cases, try to figure out the diagnosis and post it at the end of the column, before the actual diagnosis is revealed. These stories unfold like the classic detective novel, following the doctor-sleuth as she sifts through clues and interrogates witnesses in pursuit of the true culprit and the final diagnosis.
The paperback version of her best- selling book, “Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis,” was published in August 2010. This book takes readers to the bedside to examine the mysteries of medical diagnosis.
Before going to medical school, Sanders was an Emmy award-winning producer at CBS News. She lives in New Haven with her husband and two daughters.
Campus Cross Talk is a yearlong series of events that engage Quinnipiac students and faculty in discussions on topics related to a central theme. The current theme is health literacy. Past Campus Cross Talks focused on bioethics and social revolution. Events can include teach-ins, book reviews, film analysis, panel discussions and guest speakers.