Resident On Call: A Doctor's Reflections on His First Years at Mass General

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Overview

In turn heartbreaking, irreverent, moving—and at times raucously humorous—one of the nation's leading pediatric researchers recounts his first years as a newly minted, stuggling, and insecure doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. A graduate of a state university medical school, Scott Rivkees was competing with elite students from some of the most prestigious schools in the country. Nervous and uncertain, he worked unholy hours with patients ranging from indigent street people to celebrity ...

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Resident On Call: A Doctor's Reflections on His First Years at Mass General

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Overview

In turn heartbreaking, irreverent, moving—and at times raucously humorous—one of the nation's leading pediatric researchers recounts his first years as a newly minted, stuggling, and insecure doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. A graduate of a state university medical school, Scott Rivkees was competing with elite students from some of the most prestigious schools in the country. Nervous and uncertain, he worked unholy hours with patients ranging from indigent street people to celebrity guests drawn to the reputation and care offered by Mass General.

Along the way he learned what medical school textbooks don't teach: how to deal with immense pressure, exhaustion, unruly patients, mysterious conditions, the joy of saving a life, and the wrenching suddenness of losing a patient, more often than not a young child. His resident education did not prevent him from losing his sense of irony and humor as he recounts bleary nights on the town, the allure of young nurses, substandard housing, and the value of pricking an inflated ego.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Fast-paced memoir."
Wall Street Journal

"Amusing medical stories as seen through the eyes of a new doctor."
—Kirkus Review

"Rivkees . . . documents his time at Mass General with wit, humor, and at times, sadness. Just two months out of medical school, Rivkees encountered his first meningitis case—an eight-week-old girl. It’s cases like this that make the book a worthwhile read because we get to see what happens inside one of the country’s top hospitals through the eyes of a green freshman."
Boston Magazine

"A new humorous — and at times serious — memoir . . . highlights what residency is truly like, and what the medical school textbooks don’t teach, like how to survive long weeks, sleepless nights and whirlwind days at the hospital."
University of Florida Health

"From the mythical Marcus Welby to the heroes and heroines of ER to the maverick Dr. House, the public has been fascinated by the training and lives of physicians. Scott Rivkees expands on the myth with his insightful, at times irreverent , recollections of his residency training at 'Man’s Greatest Hospital.' Most of all, Rivkees amply demonstrates that physicians—especially the “best and the brightest”—are human, subject to the usual human frailties, but also dedicated to providing the cutting-edge, scientific care for which our leading teaching hospitals—like MGH—are renowned."
—Myron Genel, MD, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics and Senior Research Scientist, Yale University

"A hilarious yet poignant account of a young physician's transformation from a medical student to a fully trained doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital. Scott Rivkees shares the highs and lows of becoming a physician while providing an insider’s view of the inner workings of 'Man’s Greatest Hospital' and the life of a resident living in Boston. I both laughed out loud and cried as I read this very entertaining and worthwhile book that manages to bring the House of God into the 21st century."
—Christopher Breuer, MD, Professor of Pediatric Surgery, Harvard University, Yale University, and Ohio State University

"A lively collection of personal tales that capture the training experience at the Massachusetts General Hospital. These fast-paced narratives through the eyes of a very perceptive physician provide a broad panorama of medical care. An appreciation for the nurturing and demanding academic mentors found in 'Man’s Greatest Hospital' shines through, and these narratives and document the very essence of the apprenticeship required to mold young trainees into some of our finest academic physicians."
—Frederick Southwick, MD, Professor of Medicine, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Florida

"Dr. Rivkees is one of the leading pediatric endocrinologists in the world. It is clear that his medical acumen and keen insights came from training at in an elite institution. Dr. Rivkees’ poignant and wacky stories show just how special this training was."

—Dr. Jeffrey Gruen, Professor of Pediatrics, Yale University

"Dr. Rivkees has a marvelous way of mixing thoughtfulness with down-to earth realities. He has produced a marvelously informative book."

—Dr. Marco Danon, Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology, Massachusetts General Hospital

From the Publisher

"From the mythical Marcus Welby to the heroes and heroines of ER to the maverick Dr. House, the public has been fascinated by the training and lives of physicians. Scott Rivkees expands on the myth with his insightful, at times irreverent , recollections of his residency training at MGH (“Man’s Greatest Hospital”). Most of all Rivkees amply demonstrates that physicians—especially the “best and the brightest”—are human, subject to the usual human frailties, but also dedicated to providing the cutting edge, scientific care for which our leading teaching hospitals—like MGH—are renowned."

—Myron Genel, MD, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics and Senior Research Scientist, Yale University

"A hilarious yet poignant account of a young physician's transformation from a medical student to a fully trained doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital. Scott Rivkees shares the highs and lows of becoming a physician while providing an insider’s view of the inner working of Man’s Greatest Hospital and the life of a resident living in Boston. I both laughed out loud and cried as I read this very entertaining and worthwhile book that manages to bring the House of God into the 21st century."

—Christopher Breuer, MD, Professor of Pediatric Surgery, Harvard University, Yale University, and Ohio State University

"A lively collection of personal tales that capture the training experience at the Massachusetts General Hospital. These fast paced narratives through the eyes of a very perceptive physician provide a broad panorama of medical care. An appreciation for the nurturing and demanding academic mentors found in “Man’s greatest hospital” shines through and these narratives and document the very essence of the apprenticeship required to mold young trainees into some of our finest academic physicians."

—Frederick Southwick, MD, Professor of Medicine, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Florida

"Dr. Rivkees is one of the leading pediatric endocrinologists in the world. It is clear that his medical acumen and keen insights came from training at in an elite institution. Dr. Rivkees’ poignant and wacky stories show just how special this training was."

—Dr. Jeffrey Gruen, Professor of Pediatrics, Yale University

"Dr. Rivkees has a marvelous way of mixing thoughtfulness with down-to earth realities. He has produced a marvelously informative book."

—Dr. Marco Danon, Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology, Massachusetts General Hospital

Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-13
Firsthand accounts of life as a newly graduated pediatric doctor. When Rivkees (Pediatrics/Yale School of Medicine) entered his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, an institution affectionately nicknamed "Man's Greatest Hospital," he had recently graduated from a medical school in New Jersey. Like his fellow residents, some from austere schools like Harvard and Yale, he was not fully prepared for the demanding schedules, exhaustion and on-the-spot decisions required from a doctor on call. "[W]e soon saw that we were all the same—the same products of the same books, the same notes, and the same bland lectures," writes the author. "We were to be later distinguished by our drive, creativity, and judgment." Over time, and with the help of older doctors who had the patience and knowledge to diagnosis some bizarre cases, Rivkees learned the ins and outs of pediatric care. In short, almost abrupt prose, the author recalls riveting memories of those early years of practice when he had to learn how to start IVs in veins the size of pencil leads, how to diagnose rare diseases and how to deal with the agony of losing a patient. Threaded throughout the quick bedside stories of numerous patients are accounts of the humorous practical jokes Rivkees and his fellow residents played on one another to combat fatigue and boredom, including the theft of a 2,000-year-old mummy. Although many patients are introduced via emergency room or in-patient scenarios, most are abandoned in lieu of another tale, leaving readers to ponder what happened to that particular person after his or her hospital visit was over. Quick forays into the dates the author had with a variety of "Cathys" round out the reflections of a man who became a world leader in pediatrics and pediatric endocrinology. Amusing medical stories as seen through the eyes of a new doctor.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762794539
  • Publisher: Lyons Press, The
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Edition description: First
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 123,979
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott A. Rivkees, MD, is a world-renowned leader in pediatrics and pediatric endocrinology. He graduated from Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He completed his post-graduate medical training at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and he has held faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School, Yale University, and Indiana University. He is currently professor and chairman of pediatrics at the University of Florida College of Medicine and physician-in-chief of Shands Children's Hospital.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 11, 2014

    Couldn't put this book down (read the book in less then 24 hours

    Couldn't put this book down (read the book in less then 24 hours)! Well written with funny quips as well as happy
    and sad outcomes. But with each challenge he shares what he learns and how he grows. I enjoyed reading about the bonds formed during residency and the key role Attendings play in the resident's journey. And of course, it all takes place in the best city, Bawston, and at MGH (Man's Greatest Hospital).

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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