The Imaginary Patient: How Diagnosis Gets Us Wrong


The Imaginary Patient: How Diagnosis Gets Us Wrong | 9781783785841 | Jules Montague

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Published:12/05/2022 by Granta Books


A diagnosis is supposed to give us certainty, our first step on the road to recovery.

But what if your diagnosis is inflected by a doctor’s bias, swayed by Big Pharma, or designed to protect the police? What happens when you are — or your child is — refused a diagnosis for a condition the establishment will not recognise?

As a consultant neurologist, Dr Jules Montague saw the relief a diagnosis could bring, but she also came to see its limitations. In this eye-opening and humane account, Montague meets with the patients and families who have had their lives turned upside down by a diagnosis they never deserved.

She speaks to parents fighting for recognition of their children’s symptoms; men and women whose bodies have been stigmatised by society; and to the families of young black men who are being diagnosed posthumously with a condition that could exonerate their killers.

Through these stories of heartbreak and resilience, Montague shines a light on the troubled state of diagnosis, and asks how we might begin to heal.

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