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great books to read about medicine

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by caloh, Apr 27, 2007.

  1. caloh

    caloh my fresh cup of coffee 2+ Year Member

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    I was recommended recently by a resident friend of mine to read Complications, written by Atul Gawande, a surgical resident. He breaks down his experience as a doctor, from doctors making mistakes to the feeling of attending his first convention of surgeons. also, he ties his own experiences to the experience of surgeons as a whole by citing various studies on surgeons, etc. i found it a great read because it really exposes the world of surgery in a way that allows the general reader to develop an empathy for what a typical surgeon goes through. i imagine that if i were a surgical resident, which i'm not, i would find the reading cathartic.

    have u run across a book about medicine (of course, non-textbook) that has left a unique impression?
     
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  3. Tired

    Tired Fading away 7+ Year Member

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    I've never understood the passion for reading about medicine after you get into med school or residency. Why the hell would I want to spend my little free time reading about other people doing the same thing as me? The day I started med school was pretty much the last time I watched ER . . .
     
  4. a_ditchdoc

    a_ditchdoc 5+ Year Member

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    Ok, it goes without saying, "The House of God" is a must read for an unedited, cynical look at medicine. Of course it is fiction, and there is simply no way residents can have that much sex.

    Two that I liked are "The Dressing Station" and "Mountains Beyond Mountains." Both are pretty good reads....
     
  5. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon 7+ Year Member

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    I object.

    "The House of God" is a poorly written exercise in sexual fantasy and self pity. It chronicles an age in medicine that no long exists. The culture is different, the therapeutics are different, the people are different. I'm sure everyone is going to disagree with me but I found it to be a waste of time with the exception of one of the rules about "In a code, the first thing to do is check your own pulse." Why this book is still considered almost required reading is beyond me.

    You don't have to drink the Kool-Aid.
     
  6. Jack Daniel

    Jack Daniel In Memory of Riley Jane Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

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    Amory, are you a JD turned med student? ;)
    I agree with some of your comments, but I think it's still worth reading because so many people continue to reference it.
     
  7. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

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    Worth reading if only for the common references to the suffering of residency. Still I worry about those who read it before medical school and then are woefully disappointed to find that over sexism and racism isn't what the book presented.
     
  8. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon 7+ Year Member

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    No, although sometimes I think I should be a med-student turned JD.
     
  9. docB

    docB Chronically painful Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I can't say enough about how insightful House Of God was and is still today. Aside from the sex it was spot on. It described the grinding, numbing process of residency. It pointed out that they can always hurt you more and chronicled the revolving door care of the chronically demented. I applaud those who are so happy in medicine that they can discount what so many of the rest of us feel.
     
  10. Notmyrealname

    Notmyrealname 2+ Year Member

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    Dr. Gawande has a new book out, Better, that is pretty interesting too. I loved Complications.

    Dan Shapiro is a psychologist who writes about medicine, his two books Mom's Marijuana (about his struggle w/ Hogdkins) and Delivering Dr. Amelia (about an OB's struggle w/ making a medical error) are both great reads.

    Singular Intimacies (can't remember the author's name but she trained at Bellevue in NY) is a great book about keeping humanity in medicine.

    Abraham Verghese is an internist and a medical writer. He has two books:
    My Own Country (about his experience with an AIDS epidemic in a small rural town) and The Tennis Partner (about a physician's drug addiction)

    I think medical literature gives us the chance to step back and think about medicine in a different way....just my $.02:)
     
  11. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick! 7+ Year Member

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    I'm currently reading his latest book, Better, which does a nice job of presenting some common issues with medicine. Insurance, death penalty, litigation, etc. Thoroughly enjoying it.
     
  12. McDoctor

    McDoctor Over One Billion Cured 5+ Year Member

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    I couldn't agree more. The core of the book remains pertinent today.

    That being said, I'm still waiting for a the next "House of God" for this era. A book that scathingly satirizes today's corporate bean counters, risk management lawsuit-o-phobes, infection control germ-o-phobes, HIPPA compliance fascists, and political correctness run amok.
     
  13. docB

    docB Chronically painful Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    ...and the continually changing JCAHO fad mandates.
     
  14. Mumpu

    Mumpu Burninator, MD 5+ Year Member

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    I'll second what Tired said. Are you not spending enough time in the hospital already? Get a hobby!
     
  15. BADMD

    BADMD Physician 10+ Year Member

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  16. Red Beard

    Red Beard 7+ Year Member

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    More a mental vacation than an educational read, I really really enjoyed Doc: Then and Now with a Montana Physician, by R.E. Losee, M.D.

    From Amazon:

    The only thing I don't like about this kind of book is that I end up wishing I was born about 80 years ago.
     
  17. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

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  18. mlw03

    mlw03 Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

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    definately get your main point - i too don't want to spend my non-school/work time talking shop all the time. but house, grey's, and scrubs are definately on my must-watch list, but come on - they're not medical shows, they're stories that happen to take place in hospitals. er probably is the most medical of the doctor shows and it has plenty soap opera-ness too.
     
  19. changeofheart77

    changeofheart77 2+ Year Member

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    My Own Country is a great book. I like Verghese because he actually 'writes' instead of merely narrating.
     
  20. zver81

    zver81 2+ Year Member

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    I really enjoyed The final diagnosis by Arthur Hailey. It was written in the 60's, I think, so it's outdated, but it is still a fascinating book.
     
  21. MD Dreams

    MD Dreams Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    "Learning to play God" -- may have to find it out of print

    "When the air hits your brain"

    "Walk on water"

    Three darn good books, if I say so myself.
     
  22. happyob

    happyob 2+ Year Member

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    The physician by Noah Gordon is a book you must read. I've read it 2 times and love it!!! Highly recommended
     
  23. mlw47

    mlw47 5+ Year Member

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    Here name's Danielle Ofri. She's currently at NYU.
    Her other book, Incidental Findings, was good, but didn't come anywhere close to Singular Intimacies.
     
  24. nolagas

    nolagas Member 10+ Year Member

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    I kind of agree with you, but you should all read The Tennis Partner anyway. It is actually just a really good book who's main characters are a doctor and a medical student. It's not about medicine so much but it is enough so to belong on this list. Anyway, someone recommended it above, but I wanted to second that recommendation.
     

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