Adding to the list from before (Arrowsmith, Complications, When the Air Hits Your Brain), here are three great more titles to check out, just in time for winter break.
- Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh
Marsh picks up where Frank Vertosick left off in When the Air Hits Your Brain‘s description of the painfully underfunded yet clinically astute practice in Merry Old England. Marsh is a somewhat curmudgeonly, seasoned surgeon who is deeply human despite his gruff-sounding narrator in the audiobook version. He recounts incredible stories of his work in England and in communist Eastern Europe. This is a very entertaining read! Complementary to Vertosik’s book, it is more thought-provoking about the medical system but less thought-provoking about brain surgery and humanity.
- House of God by Samuel Shem
Although it recently came under some criticism in the New Yorker, this book is a classic chronicle of life as an intern with some unforgettable characters. This book chronicles intern year at a Boston hospital for a graduate of BMS (Best Medical School) and is an absolute must-read for interns. It features an unbelievable cast of characters and several immutable Laws of the House of God. Some of these laws are useful (Age + BUN = Lasix dose)*, others just funny (Show me a BMS (Best Medical Student, a student at The Best Medical School) who only triples my work and I will kiss his feet;
If the radiology resident and the medical student both see a lesion on the chest x-ray, there can be no lesion there;
The delivery of good medical care is to do as much nothing as possible.)
All specialties should read this book.
- The Puzzle People: Memoirs of a Transplant Surgeon by Thomas Starzl. Dr. Starzl was a softspoken and incredibly hardworking surgeon who — nearly singlehandedly — invented the field of transplant surgery. He was hardworking to a fault (his secretary found him crawling to his desk to finish a manuscript when he was having a heart attack, and he sort of neglected his family), as you’ll see in the book. This book, however, gives you an incredible window into a great man’s life and career, and is highly recommended! We have come a long way since the first effective immunosuppressants were discovered. Starzl not only had incredible surgical technique that he perfected in groundbreaking surgeries, he also tirelessly worked to optimize immunosuppressant regiments in animal models and ultimately in the brave patients he took under his care.
*Med School Beast does not provide medical advice and is not responsible for the consequences of any medical decisionmaking you make. However, a good nephrologist I spoke to once said this formula actually works pretty well most of the time