The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly is a very candid memoir of Matt McCarthy’s intern year at a New York hospital. I loved this book, and was hooked just by the prologue. If not for the fact that I’d been studying for a shelf exam when I first started this book, I would’ve read the whole thing in one sitting.
McCarthy writes really well–the story flows naturally, and he really knows how to put scenes together. He has a great sense of humor, and his writing style is very engaging. Be forewarned, however, that there are f-bombs and profanity (such is the nature of medicine sometimes), so if you find cursing offensive, you might not enjoy this book as much.
His story gives you a preview of what intern year might look like, and I especially enjoyed the medical references he’d make, because it almost, almost made me feel like I was studying while reading for leisure, even though in actuality, I was taking a study break. (How often does that ever get to happen?
As medical students, it may be frightening how much you’ll be able to relate to whilst reading about his experiences. His account of his time spent as a resident is very honest and open, and I think it might scare people who aren’t in medicine to know that doctors can and do doubt ourselves just as much as, if not more than, the average person. The stakes are high–you do not want to and cannot afford to make a mistake, because that can honestly lead to another person’s death.
But reading this was almost comforting, in the sense that you will realize that you’re not the only one who’s always thinking that there’s more you could, and should, know.
“Matt,” he finally said, putting a warm hand on my shoulder, “Sometimes things that on the surface can seem like small victories, very small victories…”
His voice trailed off, but I wanted him to continue. I put down my pen. “Yes?”
He stood up and shook his head. “Sometimes those things can actually be tremendous victories.”
I’d recommend this book to anyone who needs a still-medically-related book for leisure reading–it provides a great glimpse into what residency will be like. (If you read this book, pay attention to Jim. :] He’s the type of physician I want to be someday.)