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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Patients in Peril: The Demise of Primary Care in America by Gregg Coodley M.D. is a non-fiction medical book that details the history of general practice and primary healthcare in the United States. He describes how the decline in primary care is detrimental to doctors, patients, the healthcare system as a whole, and even insurers. Coodley begins by showing us how primary care has been managed for centuries and the series of transitions that have occurred to get to where we are now. He points out that almost every doctor is a stranger to the patient and how ineffective this practice is, as well as how much more it costs. Coodley provides references, verifiable facts, a clear understanding of the economics, and his experience as an MD who has worked with primary care physicians for decades. His revelations are terrifying and compelling.
In the interests of full disclosure, I live in a country with national healthcare and have had the same primary care physician for close to thirty years. My doctor knows my name without reviewing a file, asks about my dad, and sends us Christmas cards. A for-profit healthcare system is foreign to me and for this reason, Gregg Coodley's Patients in Peril consumed me for days. It is difficult not to feel angry once we have the crystal clear picture that Coodley paints. Imagine a doctor being paid more for not treating a patient in need with everything they require. Imagine everyone but the doctor getting lab results first and a patient finding out they have cancer from a screen print mailed to their home. Imagine a patient in need of time-critical treatment and their doctor's hands being tied until an insurance company approves it. The problem is that all of this is happening right now. It's going to take a whole lot more of Dr. Coodley's teaching before we finally fight for change, but this book is an excellent place to start. Highly recommended.