1. Dismiss Notice
  2. Download free Tapatalk for iPhone or Tapatalk for Android for your phone and follow the SDN forums with push notifications.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

SDN book club

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by edogg, May 14, 2002.

  1. edogg

    edogg Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2001
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi guys. I just wanted to see if any of you read "The House of God" by Samuel Shem. Its a story about six interns. I just picked it up and it seems really good so far. This book was brought to my attention by a wonderful admissions director.

    Are there any other good books that any of you have read dealing with medicine?
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. The Fly

    The Fly Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2001
    Messages:
    735
    Likes Received:
    0
    'The House of God' is an excellent book but it's a little dated . . .

    I *highly* recommend Complications by Atul Gawande, which is a brand new book by a 7th year surgical resident at MGH who's also a staff writer for the New Yorker.

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Here's the NYT book review:<strong>
    COMPLICATIONS
    A Surgeon's Notes
    on an Imperfect Science.
    By Atul Gawande.
    269 pp. New York:
    Metropolitan Books/
    Henry Holt & Company. $24.

    ''LET no one suppose,'' Bernard Shaw once declared, ''that the words doctor and patient can disguise from the parties the fact that they are employer and employee.'' Indeed, until recently, metaphors for the doctor-patient relationship evoked intercommunicating vessels between which no liquid passes unless one is set higher than the other. The fluid was, of course, the healing influence or vis curativa. And the physician had to be the upraised vessel. Only thus would the beneficial contents flow, from all-knowing doctor to appropriately lowered, humble and unquestioning patient.

    That this peculiar physics is going out of style is only too apparent. Today's ideal reflects the enlightened notion that both doctor and patient are reasonable people whose combined efforts are required to combat disease effectively. But in that harmonious relationship, the physician's candor is essential. This is one reason why ''Complications,'' a book written by a surgeon, Atul Gawande, is a breath of fresh air. Tellingly, its three main sections are titled ''Fallibility,'' ''Mystery'' and ''Uncertainty.''

    Each part consists of a group of narratives, couched in an engaging, agile style and somehow adverting to the shortcoming of the medical profession suggested by the heading. Thus, in ''Fallibility,'' the reader confronts the sobering fact that physicians must learn, and that learning, even in the best organized, most expertly supervised environment, involves mistakes. Alas, some patients will be harmed. Worse yet, the poor, the uninsured, the most disadvantaged populations suffer the most, since it is for these that physicians in training bear the greatest amount of unsupervised responsibility. All this we may find revolting, but in the current system no viable alternative is in sight. ''We want perfection without practice,'' Gawande writes. ''Yet everyone is harmed if no one is trained for the future.''

    At a time when more and more American medicine is regarded as an industry, the uses and customs of industrial corporations are being deployed in the clinic. I once heard the impressive slogan ''zero mistakes'' ardently propagandized by a highly paid consultant at the hospital where I worked. On the one hand, the slogan reflected the commendable ethos of unflagging intolerance to mistakes; on the other, it undermined its own effectiveness by running counter to the categorical truth, vouched for by the experience of milleniums and confirmed by the foremost thinkers of every age, that human beings are fallible.

    Gawande's chapter on medical mistakes I consider a model of its kind. It includes a well-informed review (notes on sources are provided for each chapter) of ways in which operational measures taken from industry have directly benefited, and might continue to improve, medical practice. At the same time, it underscores the fact that the parallel can go only so far. For the goal in the clinic, unlike the assembly line, is not the delivery of a fixed product or even a whole catalog of defined products. The goal is health and well-being, and these are in no small measure constructs of the perplexing, intricate, idiosyncratic human mind.

    ''From what I've learned looking inside people,'' Gawande writes, ''I've decided human beings are somewhere between a hurricane and an ice cube: in some respects, permanently mysterious, but in others -- with enough science and careful probing -- entirely scrutable. It would be as foolish to think we have reached the limits of human knowledge as it is to think we could ever know everything.'' The truth is, he says with a justifiable flourish, that medical practice ''may well be more complex than just about any other field of human endeavor.''

    Under ''Mystery,'' Gawande takes us to the boundless realm of the medically unexplained. Diseases come and go, often without apparent cause. Or a causal role is rashly attributed to factors that are purely coincidental. The same demonstrable abnormality shows up in some patients with excruciating symptoms while in other patients it courses unperceived. An epidemic of backache among physicians who formerly withstood endless hours stooping in the operating room may be related, Gawande suggests, to growing dissatisfaction with their profession. Without lecturing to us, by the sole expedient of telling us fascinating stories, Gawande, who is also a staff writer on medicine and science for The New Yorker, leads us to ponder the knotty philosophical riddles enmeshed in the very texture of disease: what is the meaning of pain; how can it be that intangible, abstract phenomena, like memories and desires, dovetail seamlessly with concrete, organic manifestations; why would bodily reactions, presumably of evolutionary usefulness, suddenly go awry (as in the engrossing story, called ''Crimson Tide,'' of a girl who blushed uncontrollably); or how easily the mind-body ties turn to shackles that are disabling (as in the appalling case histories of patients with morbid obesity).

    The last section, ''Uncertainty,'' ushers us farther into the twin domains of fascination and bewilderment. ''The core predicament of medicine -- the thing that makes being a patient so wrenching, being a doctor so difficult and being a part of a society that pays the bills they run up so vexing -- is uncertainty,'' Gawande writes. ''Medicine's ground state is uncertainty. And wisdom -- for both patients and doctors -- is defined by how one copes with it.''

    We are given a glimpse of that mysterious, tragic condition, the sudden, unexplained death of infants (SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome), for which in my own lifetime at least a dozen hypothetical explanations have been seriously entertained. As a pathologist, I thoroughly enjoyed the chapter named ''Final Cut,'' in which Gawande, with admirable forthrightness, tells us that one important cause for the decline of the autopsy is hubris. Physicians today believe that with modern high-tech medical instrumentation no diagnosis can escape them, a stance that defies recent studies showing that 40 percent of the time an autopsy uncovers abnormalities not diagnosed during the patient's life, and one-third of these are of such magnitude that they would have modified the course of treatment, had they been known opportunely.

    Again, the writer who tells us all this is not lecturing. He is practicing with uncommon dexterity that arcane alchemy for which I can summon no better name than ''verbal magic,'' and which consists in making the concepts emerge by themselves, merely by parading before us men and women who live their lives and die their deaths in front of us, the readers.

    By his own admission, Gawande purported to tell us unambiguously what is right with medicine and what is wrong with it. This he has done admirably well. At a time when a hospital advertises with the phrase ''where miracles happen''; when physicians claim, without blushing, to perform ''cardiac resuscitation,'' letting people believe that they bring back Lazarus every day, candor like Gawande's deserves unreserved praise.

    Contrary to what public relations officers seem to think, honesty and frankness do more for the public's confidence in the medical profession than extravagant boasting or supercilious gasconade. ''Complications'' ought to earn Gawande a place of distinction among physicians who try their hand at the belles-lettres. Others are perhaps more lyrical; some more poetical; still others more philosophical, or better able to depict what Aldous Huxley called ''the multiple amphibiousness'' of man, the multifaceted richness of human experience. But none surpass Gawande in the ability to create a sense of immediacy, in his power to conjure the reality of the ward, the thrill of the moment-by-moment medical or surgical drama. ''Complications'' impresses for its truth and authenticity, virtues that it owes to its author being as much forceful writer as uncompromising chronicler.
    </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"></strong>
     
  4. PTjay

    PTjay Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2001
    Messages:
    308
    Likes Received:
    0
    I just finished House of God. Although it was a bit outdated I found it to be an entertaining read. I'm reading Arrowsmith now, and will start reading MCAT books next week.
     
  5. The Fly

    The Fly Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2001
    Messages:
    735
    Likes Received:
    0
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by PTjay:
    <strong>I just finished House of God. Although it was a bit outdated I found it to be an entertaining read. I'm reading Arrowsmith now, and will start reading MCAT books next week.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Yup. Those MCAT books are an EXCELLENT read !

    :D <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    Good luck on that!
     
  6. lady bug

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Messages:
    578
    Likes Received:
    1
    I remember reading "A Not entirely benign procedure" by Perri Klass, two years ago. It was an excellent and very well written book....gave me a lot of insight into med school and a physician's profession.
     
  7. banannie

    banannie Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2002
    Messages:
    368
    Likes Received:
    0
    Couldn't get through "House of God." Felt like it was not worth wasting my time on something I found so offensive. Also, I think "dated" is an understatement.

    I really liked "Complications" and I highly recommend it!
     
  8. Tweetie_bird

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2001
    Messages:
    2,193
    Likes Received:
    2
    I had to read "Doctors" by (something) Nuland. Peter Nuland? Anyway, I have it at home so I can check the title again.

    I know more about medicine and appreciate it's history after reading just this one book. Very inspiring...very courageous. It's not entirely a story, but rather a compilation of stories of famous physicians and the trials they had to go through in history. Did you know that at one time, doctors were actually shunned by society b/c it was considered a "blue collar job?" And did you know that when the first medical school was built in Perganon (I hope I have this fact right) they didn't even allow autopsies b/c of religious reasons. Docs had to actually STEAL corpses of beggars et al just so they could examine them. Also, the hippocratic oath didn't allow for any "blood letting" (transfusion, etc) procedures, so the docs had to perform these life saving procedures outside of city limits where legal jurisdiction didn't work. This is actually when the first "amphetheatre" was built...and what it's purpose was--to hold the corpses. Anyway, you can learn so much from this book and it's an easy read. I highly recommend it.

    Tweetie
     
  9. ncmd

    ncmd Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    0
    I loved "Intern Blues". It is a bit dated (80's) but it's great- it is a true story diary kept by pediatric interns in NY. It goes through their first year month by month- they are three totally different people so you really get some interesting perspectives on the experience and how their outlook changed over the year.
     
  10. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN
    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2002
    Messages:
    43,317
    Likes Received:
    20
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Tweetie_bird:
    <strong>I had to read "Doctors" by (something) Nuland. Peter Nuland? </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I believe it is Sherwin Nuland. (but I'm also going by memory) All of his books are worth a read: How we live, How we die, Doctors

    Perri Klass' book about med school is also great (but I didn't like her fiction books)

    I also liked Becoming a Doctor (??) by Melvin Konner -- he was an OPM.
     
  11. ncmd

    ncmd Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    0
    "House of God" is sexist and dated, but I think it really is a must read, too- do you ever notice how many times they refer to it subtly on Scrubs and even sometimes on ER? It makes Scrubs all the funnier to hear the "Fat Man's Laws" quoted by Dr. Cox-
     
  12. sorrento

    sorrento Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2001
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    0
    Originally posted by The Fly:
    <strong>.

    I *highly* recommend Complications by Atul Gawande, which is a brand new book by a 7th year surgical resident at MGH who's also a staff writer for the New Yorker. </strong>

    Thanks for the rec - I LOVE this guy - it was an essay of his in the New Yorker 3 years ago that inspired me to quit my day job and apply to medical school! Now if only I could get that job at the New Yorker, too ...
     
  13. pride4jc727

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    Messages:
    730
    Likes Received:
    1
    MDApps:
    Status:
    Medical Student
    I was wondering what people's thoughts were on Dr. Jerome Groopman's How Doctors Think. I thought it was an interesting read that brought to the foreground the cognitive errors that can be made when treating a patient.
     
  14. I have one you should add. It's called "The Bible." You should pick it up sometime, you faithless heathens.
     
  15. RySerr21

    RySerr21 i aint kinda hot Im sauna
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,931
    Likes Received:
    23
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    i read the house of god last winter and enjoyed it. i picked up the sequel called Mount Misery but havent read it yet but its supposed to pretty good. you might wanna read that one next if you liked the first one.
     
  16. Asp

    Asp
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    474
    Likes Received:
    8
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Melvin Konner's book is okay. I stopped midway through out of boredom though.
     
  17. Asp

    Asp
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    474
    Likes Received:
    8
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Sherwin Nuland, from Yale. He also wrote that article on Cambridge biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey a while back..

    http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/14147/?a=f
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Grey_Technology_Review_controversy
     
  18. Asp

    Asp
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    474
    Likes Received:
    8
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    A snippet of Gawande's writing from the New Yorker:

    At the moment, though, he wasn’t concerned; he was glad simply to be on the road. The evening traffic was thin as he turned onto Route 138. He brought the Camry to a tick over the forty-five-mile-per-hour speed limit. He had his window rolled down and his elbow on the sash. The air was clear and cool, and we listened to the sound of the wheels on the pavement.

    "The night is lovely, isn’t it?" he said.

    [END OF 8-PAGE ARTICLE]

    Hahahahaha. This is kind of bad, even for the New Yorker. He should stick to surgery.
     
  19. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
    Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Messages:
    21,384
    Likes Received:
    26,354
    Status:
    Academic Administration
    Save your time. If you liked House of God and read it recently you will be confused by Mount Misery (same characters, a year later in their training but 20 years later by the calendar) and exasperated and driven insane.
     
  20. 167649

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,503
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Medical Student
    It was good. It was a little dumbed down (was written for patients, not doctors, as he states) and at times seemed to drag. Plus I personally disagreed with some of his points. But overall I think it is a good read.
     
  21. EpiPEN

    EpiPEN Aegis of Immortality
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,803
    Likes Received:
    8
    Status:
    Medical Student
    hey are you just calling us pre-meds in a fancier language?
     
  22. Frank Hardy

    Frank Hardy Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    I saw HoG at the library and I wanted to read it b/c so many liked it on sdn but the cover's too perverted on that copy, my parents would start asking questions.
     
  23. pride4jc727

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    Messages:
    730
    Likes Received:
    1
    MDApps:
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Anyone read Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope. Before you call me liberal, I actually grew up conservative and Republican. However, in college I believe my ideology is moderate leaning conservative and still support Republicans. My question is: what were people's thought on Obama's book? Try to keep it civil and unbiased without spinning it to the left or right.
     
  24. cgbg

    cgbg Eyes of Auslander
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Messages:
    237
    Likes Received:
    1
    MDApps:
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    just finisged house of god and enjoyed it a lot. however, just an interesting note, my brother is a third year resident for anesthesia and he was the one who recommended it. here is his view, "i read it as a premed and if thought it was funny, i read it as a med student and thought it was funny, real and scary, i read it as a tern and the book simply described every day for me. outside of some of the more wild antics in the book, this is tern life"

    so i guess its worth reading for that reason alone.
     
  25. xanthomondo

    xanthomondo nom nom nom
    Removed Physician 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,650
    Likes Received:
    19
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Gawande has another book out called "Better" - it's also a very good read - if you liked complications you'll like that as well.

    "Intern" by Jauhar was a good, quick and easy read

    John Schilling's "Undercover" about the litigations involving a huge Medicare fraud case is very good

    Currently I'm reading "Stiff" by Mary Roach which so far is entertaining - it's all about human cadavers
     
  26. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
    Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Messages:
    21,384
    Likes Received:
    26,354
    Status:
    Academic Administration
    Reimbursement for services provided to patients covered by Medicare and Medicaid have changed some of the hijinx covered in HoG (it was published before DRGs which have been around for ~25 years now) but the laws of the physical world have not changed (GOMERS go to ground being as true today as back in the 1970s). People who are turned off because it is too graphic... :confused: I don't get it.

    Frank Hardy, get a brown paper bag, fashion it into a book cover and write "Biochemistry Review" on the cover.
     
  27. go lakers

    go lakers Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2006
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    44
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    I picked it up after seeing it discussed on SDN. Very interesting read!
     
  28. aiLoveJuh

    aiLoveJuh ai em suh pa!
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Non-Student
    I have just started reading "How Doctors Think", it has given me a new perspective on treating patients, the many examples he talks about give me the opportunity to think about the situation and how I would react. Still reading, but I would recommend so far =D
     
  29. Scean

    Scean whats a goon to a goblin?
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Messages:
    435
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    "Both complications" and "Better" by Dr Gawande are excellent but well covered in this thread already

    "Hot lights cold steel" was another excellent read by Dr. Michael J Collins. This book walks you through 4/5 years of an orthopaedic surgery residency at the Mayo Clinic. Quite interesting and well written.

    "Med School" by Dr Clifton K. Meador, was an interesting read, it is "a collection of stories about medical school 1951-1955." He attended Vanderbilt. I thought reading about old school medicine was pretty sweet.

    "Cutting Remarks" by Dr. Sid Schwab is another well written witty read. He also blogs at surgeonsblog.blogspot.com and I'd definitely check him out.

    "when the air hits your brain" was a good read by a neurosurgeon whom I can't recall.

    Planning on reading some opinionated books about the US healthcare system, "Critical Condition" is probably up first, any other suggestions?
     
  30. ineedsleep

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    I love "House of God", as said dated, but lots of laughs. Plus lots of the terms are still used today. The rules are actually important, if sarcastic. "Mount Misery" is kinda depressing.

    "Better" an "Complications" are well written and interesting.

    "A Not Completely Benign Procedure" had good short stories and a good sense of humor.

    "Intern Blues" was good. Kinda dated too. Before the 80 work week.

    I also am a big EM person so "Bringing Out The Dead" by Joe Connelly is great. NY and EMS.
     
  31. FearAndInsomnia

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Just finished the "House of God" last week. I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it. Atul Gawande's books are also very good, I personally preferred "Complications" over "Better" both are interesting. They deal more with ethical issues more then just telling you the life story of the author. "Hot Lights Cold Steel" and "Intern" are both good reads if you are looking for a memoir about docs just entering their careers.
     
  32. RySerr21

    RySerr21 i aint kinda hot Im sauna
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,931
    Likes Received:
    23
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    interesting...can you explain why?? i'll probably read it anyway just b/c I already have it and am pretty stingy with my money so if i've already paid for something ill probably use it...haha.
     
  33. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
    Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Messages:
    21,384
    Likes Received:
    26,354
    Status:
    Academic Administration
    If you are going to read Mount Misery anyway, read it and tell us about it. I read it >10 yrs ago and just couldn't be bothered to finish it.
     
  34. Frank Hardy

    Frank Hardy Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    :laugh:
     
  35. ineedsleep

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    It took me five or six years to finish it. I finally did out of pure boredem.
     

Share This Page