The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly: A Physician’s First Year by Matt McCarthy
Published by Crown on April 7, 2015
Genres: [Adult] Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir
Format: Hardcover, ARC
Source: Blogging For Books
5 Stars, Completed June 7, 2015
– SPOILER free –
“You do not want to be the physician who assumed the patient was sleeping,” the instructor had told us, “when in fact he was dead.”
The quote above is one of the many words of wisdom and advice Dr. Matt McCarthy learned as a first year intern at Columbia hospital, and it perfectly illustrates the pressure health care professionals have to deal with every day.
In this frank memoir, The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly, Dr. McCarthy beautifully writes about the brutal truths behind the field of medicine and a physician’s infallibility, but somehow manages to do so with humor through interspersed comedic relief. In less than 100 pages into the book, readers learn that on his journey towards becoming a “good physician,” Dr. McCarthy stitches a banana peel, has feces-stained scrubs thrown at his face, and witnesses a patient almost die his first night interning in the cardiac care unit.
Dr. McCarthy soon realizes that interns are to do so much more in one night than months of medical school. And, at some point in the book, he illustrates that the mind of an intern is like a canvas or wall where paint can splatter onto. Some areas are completely bare with a few drops of paint while others have large areas occupied, meaning the field of medicine is so vast and, despite years of instructional training and thorough reading in medical school, interns cannot completely prepare for when it’s time to use their knowledge in action during their intern year as a practicing doctor. Also, after several mistakes in his first year, he also begins to question if he’s practicing in the field of medicine for him and his reputation or for the patient.
In this, Dr. McCarthy also discusses the roles experienced physicians and second year residents, that surprisingly have gone through the hellish stages as an intern like him only a year ago, have that inspires him to become a better doctor. And along with meeting and growing fond (or dislike) of his continuously changing superiors during rotations, readers quickly find themselves becoming invested in cases and patients like Dre and Benny, which makes this novel touching and, at times, intense.
After finishing this book, I couldn’t find any flaws. The medical terminology and procedures are well explained and don’t leave readers overwhelmed or intimidated. So it is, surprisingly, a readable memoir, written in a manner readers with little or no medical background can easily understand and enjoy. The plot was never boring because of Dr. McCartney’s natural ability of creating nice anecdotal flow and short but dramatic chapters. Overall, The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly really did a great job illustrating and touching topics such as medical hierarchy, ethics of medicine, and humanity in general. I found it really inspiring and consider it one of the best reads this year for me.
*Quote(s) are from the uncorrected, review copy.
I received this from the publisher and in no way did this influence my honest review. Thank you Crown and Blogging for Books for sending me this review copy!