Intern: A Doctor's Initiationby Sandeep Jauhar
Intern is Sandeep Jauhar's story of his days and nights in residency at a busy hospital in New York City, a trial that led him to question our every assumption about medical care today. Residency—and especially the first year, called internship—is legendary for its brutality. Working eighty hours or more per week, most new doctors spend their/i>
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Intern is Sandeep Jauhar's story of his days and nights in residency at a busy hospital in New York City, a trial that led him to question our every assumption about medical care today. Residency—and especially the first year, called internship—is legendary for its brutality. Working eighty hours or more per week, most new doctors spend their first year asking themselves why they wanted to be doctors in the first place.
Jauhar's internship was even more harrowing than most: he switched from physics to medicine in order to follow a more humane calling—only to find that medicine put patients' concerns last. He struggled to find a place among squadrons of cocky residents and doctors. He challenged the practices of the internship in The New York Times, attracting the suspicions of the medical bureaucracy. Then, suddenly stricken, he became a patient himself—and came to see that today's high-tech, high-pressure medicine can be a humane science after all.
Now a thriving cardiologist, Jauhar has all the qualities you'd want in your own doctor: expertise, insight, a feel for the human factor, a sense of humor, and a keen awareness of the worries that we all have in common. His beautifully written memoir explains the inner workings of modern medicine with rare candor and insight.
The New York Times
The New York Times Book Review
The Washington Post
Cardiologist Jauhar, a regular writer for the New York Timesand the New England Journal of Medicine, chronicles his first year in medical residency as an intern. Having resisted his family's attempts to persuade him to pursue a career in medicine, Jauhar instead pursues a Ph.D. in physics. But after a friend is diagnosed with the autoimmune disease lupus, Jauhar realizes his chosen major would enable him to have very little impact on people's lives. He decides instead to enter medical school, and upon graduation begins a residency program in a New York hospital. During most of his residency, however, Jauhar wavers in his decision to become a medical doctor. His honest and vivid account of the grueling life of a resident struggling through his first year as a doctor allows readers to see medicine from the point of view of someone wrestling with his career choice. By the end, Jauhar becomes more confident, assimilating into his role as a doctor, and developing a passion for his career in medicine-especially after becoming a patient himself. A well-written medical memoir recommended for most libraries.
“In Jauhar's wise memoir of his two-year ordeal of doubt and sleep deprivation at a New York hospital, he takes readers to the heart of every young physician's hardest test: to become a doctor yet remain a human being.” Time
“Brutally frank . . . The inside look at the workings of the medical internship system is fascinating.” William Grimes, The New York Times
“Jauhar's stories are timeless [and] interesting.” Barron H. Lerner, The Washington Post
“A vivid portrait of the culture of a New York City hospital, with its demanding hierarchy and sometimes indifferent cruelty.” Vincent Lam, The New York Times Book Review
“Very few books can make you laugh and cry at the same time. This is one of them. Sandeep reveals himself in this book as he takes us on a wondrous journey through one of the most difficult years of his life. It is mandatory reading for anyone who has been even the slightest bit curious about how a doctor gets trained, and for physicians, it is a valuable record of our initiation.” Sanjay Gupta, CNN medical correspondent and author of Chasing Life
“Intern will resonate not only with doctors, but with anyone who has struggled with the grand question: ‘what should I do with my life?' In a voice of profound honesty and intelligence, Sandeep Jauhar gives us an insider's look at the medical profession, and also a dramatic account of the psychological challenges of early adulthood.” Akhil Sharma, author of An Obedient Father
“Told of here is a time of travail and testing--a doctor's initiation into the trials of a demanding yet hauntingly affirming profession--all conveyed by a skilled, knowing writer whose words summon memories of his two great predecessors, Dr. Anton Chekhov and Dr. William Carlos Williams: a noble lineage to which this young doctor's mind, heart, and soul entitle him to belong.” Robert Coles
“Intern is not just a gripping tale of becoming a doctor. It's also a courageous critique, a saga of an immigrant family living (at times a little uneasily) the American dream, and even a love story. A great read and a valuable addition to the literature--and I use the word advisedly--of medical training.” Melvin Konner, M.D. Ph.D., author of Becoming a Doctor
“In this era when medical shows abound on TV, Jauhar demonstrates the power of the written word in the hands of a sensitive, thoughtful observer and an experienced, gifted writer. Intern is a compelling, accurate and heartfelt chronicle of what that year is really like. It will be the standard by which future such memoirs will be judged.” Abraham Verghese, author of My Own Country and The Tennis Partner
“Excellent, well-written... Jauhar captures vividly the uncertainty, fear, and extreme exhaustion that dominates the (residency) experience... As one reads this emotionally powerful story, it becomes clear that the culture in which the interns work is profoundly important to their experience.” Katharine Treadway, The New England Journal of Medicine
“This insider's account of life on the ward forces us to contemplate our own mortality. And we emerge from it all with a greater respect for medical professionals and their patients.” Peter McDermott, America
“An exceptional accomplishment... beautifully written and incredibly insightful... by far the best memoir of medical student or resident days yet published.” Kenneth Ludmerer, author of Learning to Heal: The Development of American Medical Education
“Here Jauhar's skills as both storyteller and compassionate physician are at their best; his encounters illustrate the complexity of real-life clinical decision-making. ...The overall feeling that emerges is that of struggle: patients struggle against the illogical oddities of a broken health care system and less frequently they struggle against their clinicians, but most often they struggle along with their clinicians to reach an acceptable or at least meaningful compromise with the injustices that come with illness. Certainly there are no easy answers, and few writers have conveyed this truth more forcefully than Jauhar. ...Those who enjoy good writing for its own sake will savor the crafted texture of this narrative. ...Jauhar captures the essence of how it feels to be a present-day physician in residency training. ...So long as training to become a physician remains a dynamic process, memoirs like this will continue to serve an important role in exploring and explaining this process to the patients that physicians serve and, perhaps no less, to physicians themselves.” S. Ryan Gregory, MD, The Journal of the American Medical Association
“Jauhar, like most of us, is neither a saint nor an apostle of medicine. He is a little sarcastic, a little bitter, a little naive, a little smarter, and a little stupider than everyone else; in short, the character he writes for himself is the perfect protagonist for a medical internship. As he flinches from the gauntlet run, the grace of his prose allows us to feel every blow. To this young physician, it brought back visceral feelings, and I hope this is not the last literary gut punch we receive from Jauhar.” Noah Raizman, The Lancet Review
“Intense.” New York
“This is no made-for-TV sitcom: Dr. House wouldn't last a night in Dr. Jauhar's world.” San Diego Union-Tribune
“Following in the path paved by doctor-writers like Lewis Thomas and Richard Selzer, Jauhar writes with grace, precision and passion. What makes him such a stimulating companion is his willingness to couple candid insights into the state of modern American medicine with equally revealing glimpses into the soul of a young doctor.” Shelf Awareness
“Jauhar's candid account of his stressful journey is enlightening, educational and eye-opening. After ten successful years in the profession, the author dolefully admits that he is unfazed by the 'small injustices' in hospitals today. Required reading for anyone seriously considering a career in medicine.” Kirkus Reviews
“What sets Jauhar's internship story apart from the norm is his candor.” Booklist
“Honest and vivid... A well-written medical memoir.” Library Journal
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A Doctor's Initiation
By Sandeep Jauhar
Farrar, Straus and GirouxCopyright © 2008 Sandeep Jauhar
All rights reserved.
There is no short cut, nor "royal road," to the attainment of medical knowledge. The path which we have to pursue is long, difficult, and unsafe.
— JOHN ABERNETHY, ENGLISH SURGEON, HUNTERIAN ORATION, 1819
I had been an intern less than an hour, and already I was running late. The sloping footpath leading up to the hospital was paved with gray cobblestones. My feet ached as my oversize leather sandals slipped on the rounded irregular rocks. The hospital was an old building browned by the passage of two centuries, with spidery cracks in its façade. Founded in 1771, New York Hospital is the second-oldest hospital in the United States, a mecca for doctors and patients from all over the world. I had been in the building once before, six months ago, for a residency interview. I spun through a revolving brass door, nearly running into the burly security guard reading the New York Post. He looked up from the tabloid just long enough to point me in the direction of the elevator.
The tiled corridors were dark and dull, mixing shadow and light. I darted past the chapel, past the café, around the information desk, which sat in the middle of the huge atrium like a fort, and entered a bank of elevators. Hanging on a wall was a portrait of a gray-haired lady in a blue dress sitting in dignified repose before an open book. She was a graduate of the medical school, class of 1899, ninety-nine years ago, who built a medical college for women in Northern India, on the banks of the Ganges, near where my father had his early college education. Nearby was a metal tablet in bas-relief: "She cared for all in need. For each, she made time to guide, to teach, and to heal."
When I arrived on the fourth floor, other interns were still filing into the auditorium. A woman handed me a manila folder, and I went inside and sat down. The orientation packet contained several essential documents: a house-staff phone card, directions for obtaining autopsies, instructions on how to use the hospital dictation system, and the residency contract. I leafed through it quickly. My salary was going to be $37,000 a year, about eight dollars an hour, I calculated, given the number of hours I was going to be working, but I didn't mind. Though I was a year shy of thirty, it was more than double what I had ever made.
My classmates, though younger than I, appeared older than I expected, casually dressed, all thirty-five of them, in khakis and polo shirts, faded jeans and sequined tops. Some of them evidently knew each other, because they were already chatting in small, insulated groups. They were from some of the best medical schools in the country: Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia. Though I too had gone to a top school — Washington University in St. Louis — I had been feeling insecure about the prospect of working with them. For months I had feverishly been reading Harrison's tome on internal medicine and review articles in The New England Journal of Medicine to prepare for this day.
Someone in the front row stood up and turned to face us. It was Shelby Wood, the hospital's residency director. He was a serious-looking man of medium build, with straight brown hair and a long, aquiline nose. He was wearing a white coat and a fat blue tie that might have been in fashion twenty years earlier. My elder brother, Rajiv, a cardiology fellow at the hospital, six years ahead of me in his medical training (though only two and a half years older), had warned me that Dr. Wood was a bit of a grouch, but had added that he was also fair and decent and a strong advocate for his house staff. Wood, I was to learn, hailed from the old school, where you were expected to live and breathe medicine, stay late in the hospital, neglect your family for the sake of your patients, and emerge on the other side a seasoned physician.
He cleared his throat and began to speak. His voice was deep but incongruously soft, and because I was sitting in the back of the sixty-seat auditorium, I only managed to catch snippets of his remarks. It was going to be a busy year, he said, as thirty-five heads stared motionlessly back at him. We were expected to devote ourselves fully to medicine. "You don't learn French by taking classes at Hunter College. You learn it by going to Paris, sitting in the cafés, talking to people." Likewise medicine: we would learn it by living it. "You are now ambassadors for the profession," he said gravely. "So don't let the students hear you complain. It sets a bad example." If everything went as planned, he added, by next June we'd be ready to supervise the next batch of interns.
I glanced over at the pretty brunette sitting next to me. She looked back at me, rolled her eyes, and opened her mouth in mock panic.
Then Wood dropped the bomb. Every intern starting on the wards or in the intensive care units was required to come to the hospital every single day, including weekends, for the first six weeks. The only exceptions were interns starting in the outpatient clinic, which was only open from nine to six; they would have no evening call and weekends off for the first month. I later learned that this regimen was a longstanding tradition at the hospital, the most efficient way to get everyone up to speed. To me it seemed brutal, like a kind of hazing, not to mention a violation of residency work-hour limits set forth by the Bell Commission in New York in the mid-1980s. Uneasy murmurings reverberated through the auditorium as new interns rustled through their packets. I scanned the master schedule before breathing a sigh of relief. Along with six classmates, I was slated to start in the clinic.
"We are here to help you," Wood said, raising his voice over the light chatter. "You should feel free to call on us anytime, day or night. The only mistake you can make is not asking for help."
I was reminded of a residency interview in Chicago a few months earlier. The interviewer, a portly senior physician with an abundance of facial hair, had posed the following scenario: A nurse pages me in the middle of the night to tell me that a patient who just had hip surgery is short of breath. What would I do? "Go see the patient," I said. I had enough sense to know that there was only one right answer to that question. Walking to the room, what would I be thinking about? "Pulmonary embolism," I replied. Blood clots in the lung are a feared complication after hip surgery. When I arrive in the room, the patient is in distress. His heart is beating 130 times per minute and the oxygen tension in his blood is low. Now what? I went over the treatment options in my head — blood thinner, supplemental oxygen, arterial blood gas — but it seemed the examiner wanted me to say something else. I'd heard about the notorious "July phenomenon," in which hospital mortality supposedly increases every summer with the entry of new and inexperienced hospital staff. "I'd call a senior resident," I finally answered. Why? "Because I could be missing something." My interviewer nodded; I had passed the test. Like all residency directors, he was looking for a soldier, not a cowboy.
Now it was late June, and we were the new hospital staff. For the rest of that first morning, we sat through a series of tag-team lectures. A woman from the blood bank talked about blood transfusions. A pathologist talked about the importance of autopsies. A psychologist spoke about work-related stress and told us that confidential counseling was available. A lawyer from risk management, the department that defended the hospital against lawsuits, informed us that at some point in our careers every one of us was likely to be sued, and that we could even be sued during residency. She offered some advice: Document your decision-making; document when a patient refuses treatment; never admit wrongdoing; never talk to an opposing attorney; and, finally, be nice to your patients. Doctors who were nice to their patients were rarely sued, even in cases of egregious malpractice. I looked around the room, trying to gauge the reaction of my classmates, frankly surprised that such a cynical thing was being taught on the first day of residency. No one's eyes met mine.
At the midmorning break, I went outside. Stepping through the humid air was like sweeping away static. The sidewalk was buzzing in a kind of Brownian motion, with pedestrians sidestepping me as though I were a moving obstacle. A long line snaked from an aromatic hot dog stand. Buses and taxicabs were letting people off in front of the hospital. An ambulance whizzed by on the main thoroughfare, sirens blaring, lights flashing. The noise fed my sense of wonder. I had grown up in a quiet Southern California suburb, craving the excitement of a big city. Berkeley and St. Louis had their pockets of vitality, but nothing like this. Even the smell of the neighborhood — a mix of pizza, garbage, cigarette smoke, and fragrant fruit — was rich and seasoned, like wisdom wafting through the air.
I had only arrived in Manhattan a few days earlier, moving into a one- bedroom apartment about a block away from the hospital. On the plane flight in from St. Louis, the pilot took a detour because of airspace congestion, he told us, flying into LaGuardia from the south, not the usual flight pattern. As we passed over the World Trade Center and then soared low over the city, I craned my neck to look down at the broad swath of Central Park. The brown buildings on its outskirts were arrayed like divers ready to jump into a pool. Down there, I had imagined, all of the metropolis's unique charms were waiting for me: the old, stained sidewalks; the stealthy characters playing junkyard instruments on subway platforms; the deliverymen hurtling through traffic lights on their rickety ten-speeds, I [??] NY plastic bags swinging from the handlebars. The first time I had been to New York was the summer before medical school, when I spent a couple of weeks with my brother and his wife in their tiny one-bedroom apartment across the street from the hospital, where he had just begun his fellowship. I wandered around the city, going on walking tours of Harlem, joyriding on the subway, chatting with bartenders late into the night. Like many visitors to Manhattan, I was swept away. The delicatessens, the dry cleaners, the corner convenience stores and smoke shops. Unlike in Berkeley, people weren't just milling around, enjoying the sun. There was magic in the movement on the streets. So much was happening, and I could watch it all and remain a shadow. That was the wonderful paradox of Manhattan: you could be surrounded by people and yet be anonymous at the same time. "The United Nations is just down the street," I wrote a friend. "The building they use to broker world disputes, just down the street from me!" New York cast a spell on me that summer that I could neither explain nor resist.
Back on the sidewalk, I felt a light spray from air-conditioning units outside the apartment windows above me. Heavy construction was going on in a lot nearby; large bulldozers were exhuming a deep hole, as if for a tomb, their blades ravenously picking up mouthfuls of yellowish dirt. I passed by an old church and stopped at a fruit stand to buy a nectarine. Then I ambled back to orientation munching on it. A plane flew overhead. Looking up at it streaking across the clear blue sky, sweet juice trickling down my chin and fingers, I couldn't help but think that the abnormal flight path that had brought me here last week was an apt metaphor for my own twisting journey into medicine.
I STOOD ON THE BALCONY in Berkeley and lit a cigarette. My bags were packed, the bills paid, the car loaded. Most of my possessions had been sold, save for some clothes and a few boxes of books, which I forced into the trunk and backseat. After a week of sleepless nights, I had turned in my Ph.D. thesis on quantum dots that morning. I had even found someone to take over my apartment. Now all I had to do was leave.
It was late in the afternoon on Tuesday — August 1995 — and the sky over the shimmering San Francisco Bay had turned a smoky orange. Medical school orientation was starting tomorrow. I would be in a Honda Civic somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. After explaining to the dean that I was delayed finishing my physics thesis, she had urged me to at least try to make it to St. Louis by Friday morning for the white-coat ceremony and the recitation of the Hippocratic oath. After speaking with her, I looked it up: "... To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug, nor give advice which may cause his death. Nor will I give a woman a pessary to procure abortion ..." Arcane stuff. Perhaps, I wondered, she'd let me write my own oath. Perhaps that could be my first contribution to my medical education.
The air was warm, still, vaguely welcoming. The fraying eucalyptus trees in the backyard gave off a pungent fragrance. Taking a long drag, I felt buzzed, even a bit dizzy. For the first time in months, I was in the moment. But the carefree feeling quickly dissipated as the thought — the same thought that had plagued me for months — reentered my mind, even as I tried hard to resist it: What the hell are you doing?
I pulled out of the driveway and headed south toward the Berkeley campus one last time. I passed the International House, Sorority Row, and the dormitory where I had lived freshman year. Ice plant still lined the side of the road, and the landscaping was still immaculate, just as it had been a decade ago. Freshman year, I remembered, I had planned to major in history or political science, but Victor, my randy Russian roommate, had deterred me. He was a double major in math and physics. (And "love," as he liked to put it. He put a mattress in our walk-in closet. Every night, moans from one of his girlfriends titillated me as I fell asleep.) Victor's enthusiasm for his chosen subjects was infectious. He lent me books on abstract algebra. He explained to me the wonderfully nonintuitive ideas of Kurt Gödel, an Austrian logician who proved that all mathematical systems are necessarily incomplete. He told me about Ramanujan, the Indian mathematical prodigy who claimed that the Hindu goddess Namakkal whispered theorems about prime numbers to him in dreams. In freshman chemistry, when I had to memorize the rules for how electrons occupy atomic orbitals, Victor taught me where those rules came from, in a quantum-mechanical language that was both beautiful and inscrutable. The exactness, the inaccessibility, of quantitative science intoxicated me. In the social group I eventually joined, math and physics had prestige, a sort of intellectual exclusivity that was deeply appealing. The spectrum of talent in these subjects was so broad, much broader than in the social sciences or humanities or even the biological sciences, where it seemed that with enough study even the grade-conscious premeds could master the concepts. What separated me from the rest of the pack was what separated Victor from me, and what separated my friend Mike from Victor, and what separated the genius student David Moulton from Mike, and what separated the weird, stinky math professor who ambled around campus mumbling to himself from David Moulton, and probably what separated Einstein from the weird, stinky math professor. The brain function required was so specialized that math and physics seemed to me the truest tests of intelligence. So, by the end of my freshman year, my major had changed to physics, and my intellectual heroes had changed from Churchill and Gandhi to Einstein, Heisenberg, and Feynman, men who changed the world through the power of mathematics.
But by senior year it had become clear to me that theoretical physics, at least at the level I wanted to pursue it, was beyond my capabilities. So, like many of my friends who didn't know what to do with themselves, I took the LSAT and applied to law schools. Trial law had always interested me; in high school I often fantasized about leading a courtroom charge like Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. Law school, I hoped, would allow me to broach the big questions of ethics, philosophy, and politics that had always interested me. My father, a plant geneticist with a disdain for vagueness and imprecision ("Nonscience is nonsense," he often said), thought it was a bad idea. He didn't need to remind me of his opinion of lawyers. I got into the top schools and even deferred my admission for a year, but in the end I decided to stay at Berkeley for the graduate program in physics. I didn't know what else to do. Though I thought I might like law school, somehow I knew I didn't want to be a lawyer.
One thing I never thought seriously about was becoming a doctor. In fact, for most of my life, medicine was the last thing I wanted to do. My maternal grandfather had been an army doctor in India before he went into private practice. As a boy in India, before we moved to America, I used to watch him at work in his iodine-stained clinic on the ground floor of his palatial flat in an upper-crusty neighborhood of New Delhi. Pitaji's clinic always smelled pungently of medicine, as did he. Through the drawing room window I'd spy him examining patients with boils or sepsis on the mosquito-netted veranda while lizards clung motionlessly to the limestone walls. It was fine, noble work — or so I was told — but it never caught my fancy. To me, even as a boy, medicine was a cookbook craft, with little room for creativity.
Excerpted from Intern by Sandeep Jauhar. Copyright © 2008 Sandeep Jauhar. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
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Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
—Sanjay Gupta, CNN medical correspondent and author of Chasing Life
“Intern will resonate not only with doctors, but with anyone who has struggled with the grand question: ‘what should I do with my life?’ In a voice of profound honesty and intelligence, Sandeep Jauhar gives us an insider's look at the medical profession, and also a dramatic account of the psychological challenges of early adulthood.”
—Akhil Sharma, author of An Obedient Father
“Told of here is a time of travail and testing—a doctor’s initiation into the trials of a demanding yet hauntingly affirming profession—all conveyed by a skilled, knowing writer whose words summon memories of his two great predecessors, Dr. Anton Chekhov and Dr. William Carlos Williams: a noble lineage to which this young doctor’s mind, heart, and soul entitle him to belong.”
"Intern is not just a gripping tale of becoming a doctor. It's also a courageous critique, a saga of an immigrant family living (at times a little uneasily) the American dream, and even a love story. A great read and a valuable addition to the literature—and I use the word advisedly—of medical training."
—Melvin Konner, M.D. Ph.D., author of Becoming a Doctor
Meet the Author
Sandeep Jauhar, MD, PhD, is the director of the Heart Failure Program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. He writes regularly for The New York Times and The New England Journal of Medicine. He lives with his wife and their son in New York City.
Sandeep Jauhar, MD, PhD, is the director of the Heart Failure Program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. He is the author of Intern and writes regularly for The New York Times. He lives with his wife and their son in New York City.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I am currently an intern who has the luck of being on a rotation which affords me enough time to read. I suspect that the author and I differ substantially in our attitudes to things, and yet this book clearly communicates the frustrations and dilemmas which inhabit the medical professional's training today. I thought Dr. Jauhar's book was painfully honest, and this itself makes it a valuable read for any intern; there is strength in knowing one is not alone in one's self-doubt and in one's struggle with the difficult ethical questions we are forced to face on a daily basis. My only criticism was that, in a few places I found the narrator a touch self absorbed. Otherwise, I recommend this book to upper level medical students and interns who have the time to read.
This often plodding tale of an intern's rollercoaster mood and his initial experiences as a fledging doctor will leave you alternately yawning and saying "oh, for pete's sake, grow up!" His uncertainty over his chosen profession is sometimes palpable. Does everyone question their chosen profession so often? One doesn't know whether to pity him or his patients. Eventually he hits his stride, but by then this reader was too tired to care.
I loved this book. As a student going through medical school in the near future, I found this book very insightful and I loved the honesty in Dr. Jauhar. His book would be interesting and funny to anyone, no matter their professional choice!
This book gives an insightful look into the struggles of the road to being a doctor, that perhaps not many people realized were present. Good read for anyone interested or curious about the field of medicine.
This book was an easy read. Informative, polite, and 'to the point'. I really enjoyed this book.
Dr. Jauhar has heard it before and he still doesn't have a clue. In his book Intern, he used 'the power of the pen', to retaliate against those who most likely, unknowingly, made him feel insecure. It is obvious to the reader that he never felt 'good enough' to be there. The character known as 'Dr. David Klein' (not his real name) was one of the most beloved physicians at NYH - anything but an elitist. Most of his patients were of the low-middle class socioeconomic status. He was kind to everyone, patients and staff alike.
I am an MBA who has very limited contact with physicians except for my yearly checkup. However, I have always been fascinated by the medical profession and especially how doctors 'survive' the training. This book was truly amazing because it allowed a non-physician to understand, appreciate and become a part of the training process. Kudos to the author. A great book for everyone.
I really don't understand the string of five-star reviews that this book received. The writing, for instance, is very poor, and the book reads like a rather dull episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' which it seems fairly clear the author is trying to imitate. The narrative skips around frequently, not for purposes of clarity but instead, seemingly, to make it impossible to follow the story chronologically, and the other characters are completely flat and one-dimensional, coming across as nothing more than a series of bland facial descriptions. Worst of all, however, is the narrator himself. I found his constant apathy towards his chosen profession wearying, rather than inspiring, and he seemed to have very little empathy for his patients, as he kept finding convoluted ways to compare his uncertainty to their pain or grief- in places it became nauseating. Perhaps, as a literary scholar and not an aspiring med student I am simply not the target audience for this memoir, but I took nothing away from this other than a mild feeling of annoyance and the knowledge that if I had ever been treated by an intern as inept as the author, I probably would have sued.
Dr. Jauhar tells his story of 'coming up' as a newly ordained man of medicine. Not only does he offer a great deal of insight to the non-medical reader what these young physicians go through after they are able to call themselves Doctor, he paints the picture of the struggles that young people go through as they emerge into their careers. This is a must read for any aspiring or currently training physician. In addition new college graduates in any field should read this story of the struggles that one must go through when they come down from the academic ¿ivory towers¿ and emerge into the real world. Dr. Jauhar tackles the ethical, professional and personal dilemmas of not only becoming a physician but becoming a balanced human being, advice which young people could certainly use in these ever confusing times in our society. A+
I picked up this book with some trepidation. Another doctor book!! However, I could not put it down. It describes in vivid, honest detail the struggles of a 1st generation immigrant from India who has to deal with the family pressures of pursuing a career in medicine with his own intellectual concerns about medicine. Jauhar writes in beautiful prose and is able to put to words that most physicians actually feel and went through during their internship. It is a great read and must reading for physicians, want- to-be physicians, college students considering a medical career, and the general public who are interested in the struggles of a physician and the inner workings of a medical system that is more concerned with throughput than academic curiosity
This book is a brilliant, honest and touching memoir of one man's journey through his medical internship at New York Hospital. I could not put it down. I had no idea how grueling the process was. He has shared intimate details of his daily life on the wards, the stresses as well as the rewards. It will surely become a classic in its field. I also recommend it as one of the best books I have ever read. This book deserves as many stars as there are in the sky. DWD
Dr. Jauhar captures not only the essence of the medical internship year, but bravely and boldly shares his inner conflicts with career choice, patient care dilemmas, the injustices of the medical care system, and some of the inhumanity of the training environment. After more than 30 years as an educator of medical interns and residents, I found Sandeep's book to be a veritable 'tour de force'...bringing a fresh, insightful perspective to this topic. This is 'must' reading for every medical student, all residents and training, the general public with an interest in the field, and also for those of us deeply involved in careers in post-graduate medical education
"If not all Americans; 99.9% of U.S. available citizens will visit a practicing physician of some generalization or speciality at least once in their lifetime. Either, by keeping our hearts pumping, or our brains thinking, and even our body working...these doctors do it all! The true question is- how did they learn to magnificently carry out all these procedures and abilities? In this memoir, the readers are exposed to the success and failures Doctor Jauhar experienced in his internship in New York City years ago. Intern is simply a bridge and a highway into Dr. Sandeep Jauhar's past memories. The author, Doctor Jauhar, communicates to the readers as if he was in a one on one private interview with each individual reader. He has the ability to answer every solitary question on a reader's mind all while getting his audience captivated in the novel. All in all, Doctor Sandeep Jauhar's amazing ability to keep his readers in tact directly for all 291 pages is awe-inspiring! A+ Read!!"
I felt the same way as an attending with some of my MD, PHD friends discussing patient care plans. My hope was to expediete discharge planning as a Hospitalist. Now I'm moolighting and during research in Cardiopulmonary arrest, ATLS.
Sandeep Jauhar's story his trials and tribulation in the medical field is moving and inspirational. Throughout his internship he is able to move from self-doubt and uncertainty of the whole medical field to finding faith in the system which is inspiring for those looking to go into the medical field, but have their own doubts about it. The pressure he feels from his family pushes him into medicine against his doubt that the field leaves little room for creativity and he would find passion in it. Through his first year of internship Jauhar comes to find that the field of medicine leaves little room for doubt and the doctors seem to have little concern for their patients. As his internship comes to an end, he begins to comprehend that while being a doctor comes with a certain sort of callus attitude toward those they help, that in the end doctors are doing their best to save lives that otherwise would have been loss. Jauhar is constantly bringing up the ideas of self-doubt, conflicts with the profession he chose, uncaring behaviors of those around him, hope, love, family, and the true meaning of being a doctor. The insights he gives into the lives of an intern, the attitudes of doctors, and the doubt that comes from even the best of doctors is helpful to those deciding on whether or not to go into the medical field. His constant self-doubt makes him more relatable and human to the audience as well. His writing style is creative; however, it follows that of a Grey's Anatomy episode which may have been why I enjoyed it so much. Also, his descriptions of his patients suffering, his failure to help some due to sleep deprivation, and his failed attempts at learning, which in turn caused the patients more pain are not for those with weak stomachs. The in depth details of certain events are a bit too much, and while the majority of his story cause inspiration these events create unwavering doubt on whether doctors are doing good. It is also disturbing to know that sleep deprived interns are allowed to make critical decisions with the little experience they have from medical school. I would recommend this book to anyone who has doubts in the medical field or is looking into going into the medical field, but has personal doubts about it. I found it enjoyable to read and it helped me personally in ridding myself of any doubt I had of pursuing a career in medicine. This is Sandeep Jauhar's only book, but he has had several pieces printed in the New York Times.