I could not put this book down! I read the entire memoir in one day and felt like I was on a roller coaster ride the whole way through.
The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly is Matt McCarthy's memoir of his first year of residency at Columbia Hospital. He starts off with one of his first medical diagnostic mistakes; one that haunts him for months (maybe years?) to come. We see immediately how vulnerable these young, fresh-out-of-school residents are and how much they have to learn on-the-job -- which is scary because the only way they can learn to practice medicine is by literally practicing on people!
I have never wanted to work in the medical profession and never will. But recently, my son has decided that he wants to go to medical school and he has already completed a year of EMS training. I couldn't picture my son as a doctor until I read this book and saw so much of him in Matt -- the idealism, the high's and low's, the curiosity, and the sureness that you are making a difference in the lives of these people.
I was appalled as I read some of it. Like the time Matt had to insert a large IV tube into a cardiac arrest patient and missed the spot three times before getting it. Or the time he pushed on the tender belly of a drug mule to assess whether any of the heroin-filled balloons inside her had burst. Both instances turned out fine, but I was as nervous about these things as he was.
Then there was the time that he drew blood from an HIV patient and accidentally pricked himself with the needle right afterward. I won't tell you what happens from there. You have to read the book yourself.
Matt McCarthy is actually a man of many talents. He started out as a baseball player, then went into medicine, and has proven himself a talented writer as well. I don't know what he'll go on to do with his life, but I hope he keeps on writing!
* I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.