Kill as Few Patients as Possible: The Review
Monday, June 28, 2010 at 4:05PM
Brian in Books, Interesting Reads

Mohammad introduced me to this book with, by far, one of the most interesting titles for a novel I’ve seen yet called, “Kill as Few Patients as Possible” by Dr. Oscar London (Arlan Cohn). Once I picked up the book I couldn’t concentrate on my Human Sexuality class until I read all fifty-seven essays. Dr. London provides an informative and witty account of understanding the doctor’s point of view in a patient’s room, private practice, and hospital. He cleverly refers to himself as the World’s Best Doctor as anyone else in the field would as they help their patient’s through troubling times. With forty years of knowledge, he gives fifty-seven chances for you to not make the same mistakes that he has made throughout his career.

 I’ve been in and out of doctor’s offices all my life, especially in the last three or four years. I’ve worked in a hospital for three years (next week); I’ve seen tons of doctors. I’ve heard what patients, staff, and nurses think of what a great doctor should be and what a not so great doctor should be. While the book may be written by a doctor, it provides insights and guidelines that are invaluable to any healthcare professional specifically the medical directors.

I, personally, didn’t find too much wrong with this book short of a few typos (pet peeve developed after being reamed on essays by college professors and friends). Some of the rules I didn’t understand or didn’t think were completely necessary but they definitely added to the story and punch lines. Because of this, the book does drag a little on some rules. I’ll abstain from saying which ones so you can make your own opinion.

 Of course, an incoming and practicing doctor should try and live up to some or most of these at all times, but here are a few that I would take special interest in trying to follow.

Rule 18: Don’t Weintraub Yourself to Death

Dr. London describes a medical student who sits in his room all day ready to graduate summa cum laude of his class. He’s so incredibly stressed out and anal retentive that he would have a hard time picking soup or salad at a restaurant. Don’t worry about the guy at the top, worry about yourself. He may have graduated top of his class but having a coronary isn’t a great career move. Take time out of your day to detox either with medication, video games, reading, watching television, anything to put your mind somewhere else. It’ll save your life and your career.

Rule 25: Make a Housecall and Become a Legend in Your Own Time

In America, we think of a house call as those doctors who come repair a bullet wound of a patient who dueled some local cowboys at a bar protecting his ladies. However, since it’s such a rarity today, patients and their family will be very perceptive and grateful for it. Make one every now and again and become more than just a self-proclaimed best doctor. I only hope I go out of my way to see a patient at their home.

Rule 39: Create the Illusion of Being Less Stressed Than Your Patients

I wasn’t even aware that doctors complain to their patients as Dr. London makes out in his book or try and say, “You think you have problems?” It makes complete sense that a doctor would do this especially with how much some of them have seen. We should all try our best to keep personal business out of the workplace and keep it at home where it belongs. If you have to, before and after going into work make a ritual of shedding yourself of the problems going on in your life. This should make it a lot easier to deal with any popping moments. We should remember what Dr. London said, “These patients are spending a lot of money from their checkbooks to see you.”

Rule 55: Ask Your Patient What’s Shaking Down at Work and What’s Cooking At Home

Dr. London argues that you should always ask a patient what’s going on in his or her life because it will help you diagnose what’s wrong with them. Out of all the doctors I’ve seen so far, the best ones by far are the ones who spend the extra minute or even five minutes to see what’s new in a patient’s life. They may not be punctual, they might make you sit in the waiting room for three hours, but they know who you are. People notice, word gets around fast, and no one ever has a bad thing to say about these doctors

To Buy or Not to Buy

I should probably email Dr. London to see if he’s willing to make a pocket version so when I have a discrepancy in my own practice, I can have a quick reference to forty years of experience gained from another colleague. I would definitely recommend buying, reading, and stalking this book in your growing library, it’s worth the $10.17 on Amazon. At the very least, download a copy of it or get it from a friend to look over a few of the guidelines to a better career.

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Article originally appeared on Pre-Med Hell (
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