Live long enough, people come around. From Life in the Fast Lane:
It has been many years since I first read ‘The House of God‘ by Samuel Shem, back before I even started medical school. It made me wonder what the hell I was getting myself into. This satirical novel opened the door for a world of medical satire, including TV shows like Cardiac Arrest and Scrubs. It introduced the world to dubious terms like ‘gomer‘, popularized the diagnostic ‘zebra‘, and taught us the difference between the ‘O sign‘ and the ‘Q sign‘.
But a lot has changed in medicine since the 1970’s when Roy Basch was a fresh-faced intern and the Fat Man was his heroic resident. Is the book still relevant?
I think so.
Read the full essay here.
Note: Life in the Fast Lane is a medical blog and website dedicated to providing free online emergency medicine and critical care insights and education for everyone, everywhere…anytime. Our Team, headed by Mike Cadogan & Chris Nickson, consists (mostly) of emergency physicians and intensivists based in Australia and New Zealand.
Love this website and your comments, Chris Nickson!
Breaking news on The House of God, 2016:
“My God! It was like being brought to the wall of fire that is TRUTH and having one’s eyes held open by a pair of red hot toothpicks. Extreme situations bring out the extremes of human foibles, and few situations are more extreme than the first years of being a doctor. Set in a lightly disguised Boston hospital of high repute, Shem’s novel dives deep into the agony of absurdity.”
–Publisher’s Weekly 2016 list of “The 10 Best Satires of All Times.” House of God is Number 2 (#1 Don Quixote; #3 Catch-22)