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.
Jauhar, a cardiologist who directs the Heart Failure Program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, completed his internship a decade ago, but still remembers his confusing, tumultuous medical apprenticeship at the prestigious New York Hospital "the way soldiers remember war." The son of an embittered immigrant plant geneticist who found the American university tenure system racist, Jauhar dithered over career choices and completed a doctorate in physics before embarking on medicine. Jauhar feels responsible when he botches the blood pressure check on a patient who later dies during an aortic dissection and when he misses the high blood sodium level of a man who then suffers irreversible brain damage. He wonders if he and his colleagues have discriminated against a cardiac patient because of his weight, and helps an advanced cancer patient's wife decide against the futile insertion of a breathing tube. As his internship progresses, he romances his future wife (an affair he describes with the passion of one buying a used car); cracks under self-doubt and the expectations of his traditional Indian family, and suffers a serious depression. He regrets that as a doctor he is sometimes impatient, emotionless and paternalistic. Although Jauhar carefully elucidates complex medical terminology for lay readers, his thoughtful, valuable memoir will be most relevant to medical students and interns experiencing similar crises.
If you've ever wondered what the life of an aspiring doctor was like, here's your answer. It's a riveting read. And if you're a fan of medical drama (I'm talking to you, HOUSE addicts) this book is filled with case studies and experiences that are fascinating, scary, page-turning and thought-provoking. Fantastic book.
Loved this book!
Eye opening, disturbing, yet reassuring. I could hardly put this book down.
Excellent insight on residency. I truly enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend this.