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The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly: A Physician's First Year
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The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly: A Physician's First Year

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  2,523 Ratings  ·  428 Reviews
In medical school, Matt McCarthy dreamed of being a different kind of doctor—the sort of mythical, unflappable physician who could reach unreachable patients. But when a new admission to the critical care unit almost died his first night on call, he found himself scrambling. Visions of mastery quickly gave way to hopes of simply surviving hospital life, where confidence ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Crown
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Community Reviews

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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
*4.5 stars*

If you want to know why I became a dentist instead of a physician, you should just read this book.

I adored this touching, sometimes humorous, well written book about Matt McCarthy's first year as a doctor at Columbia hospital. It is rare to find a non-fiction story by someone who isn't a writer by trade be this readable. This author has a natural ability to draw people in, and I was completely absorbed by this story.

As many of you know, I'm a dentist. Now, one of the main reasons th
Diane S ☔
May 28, 2015 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
What an incredibly fascinating book and the way it is written makes it so easy to read. Matt's first year as an intern, all the cases, rotations, long shifts, doubt, mistakes, victories all the things that go into making a young man into a confident doctor. Some of the cases and people we get acquainted with in depth and it is hard not to cheer and hope these people have a good outcome. Loved the ending, when he and is fellow interns become residents and then a very special something else ...more
Petra X
Jan 02, 2016 Petra X rated it liked it
I'm about a quarter the way in. So far I think it is really honest and down to earth, but the author is beginning to really annoy me. He never loses an opportunity to say he went to Harvard and that's like name-dropp;ing, once is enough, more looks like you are trying to impress. Also the women in the book, no matter whether they are his peers or supervisors, have to have a physical description attached to them, whereas the men don't. What's with describing your boss as having 'impossibly high ...more
Louise Aronson
Mar 11, 2015 Louise Aronson rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-books
I know what you might be thinking: Another book about the internship year? Yup, but read it anyway. It's different in its brutal honesty about the flawed narrator, and because the doctor-writer really knows how to put together a scene and build tension. In short, dramatic chapters he takes the reader through a year that is at once universal and completely unique. I was hooked!
Sonja Arlow
Aug 17, 2016 Sonja Arlow rated it really liked it
I wanted to study Microbiology at the end of high school but due to a range of circumstances I ended up getting a marketing degree years later. But the love and fascination of biology, the macabre and medicine has stayed with me.

Although this book is light on the macabre and the more technical side of practicing medicine it did show how terrifying it could be for an intern’s first year. The writing was easy to digest and had quite a few funny moments in-between the horrors of constantly not tryi
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Mar 16, 2016 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it
Shelves: health, healing
Nervously I approached this book. How many times have I been burned by my anticipated hopes for a memoir by someone with an intriguing point of view who turns out to have few storytelling skills?

Eagerly, let me assure you, Matt McCarthy can write. Whew. One hurdle. And he has a great story, that first year as a doctor. Whew. Second hurdle. And we’re in the race.

I read on and on, watching from the sidelines as our doctor, who is expected to leave college and be ready to handle every health condi
Alissa Patrick
Aug 10, 2015 Alissa Patrick rated it really liked it
This was a great nonfiction book. It read like a novel, and it made it so much more interesting when you realize that this is a real doctor and this is what being a real-life doctor is. A lot of the beginning made me think of the first season of Grey's Anatomy, when they didn't know what the hell they were doing. It was a good mixture of scary and hilarious. Plus, the ending made my heart leap with joy. Highly recommend!
2.5 stars, rounded up because I liked his writing style.

If you're going to write a memoir, you should probably have a story people would want to read. The tales of Dr. McCarthy's first year as a doctor would make a good chapter in a comprehensive autobiography but makes a boring book.

Once you get past the expected (little sleep, complicated hierarchy, med school doesn't teach you how to read an X-ray or write patient notes, inspiring patients) there really isn't any story. Yes, an accident led t
5 Stars, Completed June 7, 2015

“You do not want to be the physician who assumed the patient was sleeping," the instructor told us, "when in fact he was dead."

The quote above is one of the many words of wisdom and advice Dr. Matt McCarthy learned as a first year intern at Columbia hospital, and it perfectly illustrates the pressure health care professionals have to deal with every day.

In this frank memoir, The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly, Dr. McCarthy beautifully writes about the brutal tr
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
3.5 stars

This is an accessible, entertaining memoir of one brand-new doctor’s intern year at Columbia University Medical Center. It is rather light reading, but Dr. McCarthy proves a good storyteller, and for anyone who’s ever been a brand-new professional in over their head, it proves a fun (and sometimes wince-worthy) mix of relatability and schadenfreude.

The Real Doctor is the intimate, candid story of the author’s struggles, and sometimes successes, as a trainee doctor. He graduated from Har
Mar 02, 2015 Barbara rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
I have read a number of accounts of the first year of medical internship. This one ranks somewhere in the middle. What is appalling, but not surprising, is the grueling aspects of this intern year. Makes me want to forever avoid being a patient in a teaching hospital. Dr McCarthy's account had some good moments when I cared about him and his patients but it also revealed a whiney persona that was less than attractive at times.
3.5 Stars. "You know," he said, patting me on the back, "there is nothing more rewarding than bringing a ninety-five-year-old demented woman with widely metastatic lung cancer back to life. Well done."

One of the most disturbing things I have realized as I've grown up is that, despite what I thought as a child, most adults are pretty much just winging it. I had excluded doctors from that assessment, for my own peace of mind. Of course everyone has to start somewhere and The Real Doctor Will See Y
Apr 29, 2015 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Having worked in a hospital for 6 years, I have always found it fascinating to learn about what the doctors go through before they become doctors and this book more than answers that question.

Matt McCarthy, excuse me... Dr. Matt McCarthy, details his life as a first year intern after graduating from Harvard Medical School. He begins by describing the daunting task of presiding over night shift of the CCU with a second year resident, whom he affectionately refers to as "Baio" after Scott Baio. H
Susan Swiderski
Apr 15, 2015 Susan Swiderski rated it it was amazing
You really can't judge a book by its cover. Trust me, THIS book is much much better than its blah cover. Better than its title, too. I'm really happy I won this one through a Goodreads giveaway, because quite frankly, nothing about it would have captured my eye if I'd seen it... or to be more accurate, overlooked it... in a book store. I entered the giveaway based on its blurb, but in a book store setting, who's gonna pick up a book to even read a blurb if there's nothing noteworthy about the ...more
Apr 13, 2015 Lorilin rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, arc
The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly is an incredibly candid inside look at what life as an intern was like for author and doctor Matt McCarthy during his third year of medical school.

I must admit that I began this book with the expectation that McCarthy would be one of the many doctors who can't seem to take the time to string two coherent sentences together. So I was honestly shocked to find that McCarthy is, in reality, a truly exceptional writer and storyteller. This book has wonderful flow
Jul 21, 2015 Carin rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, medical
Matt McCarthy is so endearing. He's a brand-spanking-new doctor and he doesn't know a darn thing and isn't afraid to tell us. This book mostly covers his first year as an intern at Columbia University Hospital. He went to Harvard for med school (although apparently they don't teach much medicine which is disturbing. Harvard grads are well-known for having no grasp of physiognomy, only dissecting one upper or lower extremity.) And then, in the grand tradition of American medical training, he is ...more
May 12, 2016 Jodi rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book reads like a novel and takes the reader through the author's experiences of his first year as a medical intern. I've never liked working with residents, interns, or medical students precisely because of the types of experiences talked about in this book. It was scary, yet often humorous to read about different cases and patients this intern encountered, and reminded me of all of my experiences as the mother of the patient, trying to explain things to a young intern or resident. As this ...more
I really enjoyed listening to this. I first I kind of wondered why this guy's intern year was worthy of a book, particularly during the first bit about surgery, but as he left that field and got into what most people think of when we think of doctors' work, it got very interesting. I thought it'd be, like, a silly tale of patients being exasperated as they wanted to see an actual doctor, so this was a surprise, but a good one, I think.

I got really involved in McCarthy's experiences. His incertai
Dick Reynolds
Jul 07, 2016 Dick Reynolds rated it liked it
I’m giving up on this book after reading 175 pages. From the start, it’s been an interesting experience but I felt like I was struggling on an uphill mountain climb.
I can certainly sympathize with the author’s daily grind as an intern at a large hospital and am quite amazed that he could even function after staying awake for thirty hours. Are we supposed to feel confident that he. under those conditions, can be the stellar physician he wants to be?
Sure enough, he has an accident while drawing
Bethany Zimp
Jun 21, 2015 Bethany Zimp rated it did not like it
I'm sure this will be a popular book with the lay reader, but as a medical professional I did not find it interesting, except perhaps as: what not to do when trying to become a physician. Matt McCarthy retells what his experiences in medical school and residency were like on his way to becoming a doctor. I wasn't clear how long ago he actually took this journey as many of his references to Charles in Charge, TV dramas, HIV care, and celebrity gossip, seemed very dated. Even his 30 hour work day ...more
Dr. McCarthy's account of his experiences as a medical intern at Columbia struck a chord. It made me remember the seemingly overwhelming experience of being a freshly minted doctor. McCarthy's story is framed by some larger-than-life characters, including his second-year resident-mentor in the CCU in July and several memorable patients. However, like almost all medical memoirs, you know the narrator pulls through, especially if he started out as a Yale-educated minor league baseball player who ...more
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
Masterfully treads the fine line between hilariously funny and utterly petrifying. This is the year in a life of someone, not quite yet a doctor, who is preparing for a lifetime of saving lives and feeling overwhelmed.

There are some seriously medically scary moments throughout this book help clarify the enormous amount of challenges Doctors must face everyday and the risks they must take to overcome them. Matt McCarthy is a skilled story teller and draws the reader in behind the curtain with hum
Jun 07, 2015 Jake rated it really liked it
It's comforting to know that when someone has your life in their hands, they're more than likely a career sociopath who has been awake for 36 straight hours.

This is a quick and enlightening read. Unless you're planning to get sick soon.
Oct 03, 2015 Farrah rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, and had it not been for the fact that I was studying for a shelf exam at the time that I started reading this, I would've finished it in one sitting. I was hooked just by the prologue.

As a medical student, I could definitely relate to most of what Dr. McCarthy wrote about and described in here. He writes really well–the story flows naturally, and he really knows how to put scenes together. He also has a great sense of humor, and his writing style is very engaging.

Be forewarne
Feb 16, 2016 Liralen rated it really liked it
One of my classes was recently discussing an article on brain surgery in which one of the article subjects mentions that nobody wants a surgeon who's never done the procedure before, but of course that's the only way to get experience. (Me: 'Yeah, it's very July-effect.' My classmates: 'What's the July effect?' Me, thinking: 'Okay, I read too much.')

Anyway, McCarthy didn't go into surgery, but this too is reminiscent of the July effect: McCarthy chronicles his year as an intern, when he was in a
Apr 27, 2015 Amanda rated it really liked it
I found a lot of comfort by reading this book. I work in the medical field and I was required to complete 2 twelve week internships in different settings. I went into them confident and excited but quickly learned that reading something in a book and actually doing it are 2 entirely different things. I made mistakes, I cried, I felt like a failure at times and felt more stress in those 24 weeks than ever in my life. This book was such a source of solace as I realized that I was not alone in my ...more
Leah K
Jan 17, 2016 Leah K rated it it was amazing
The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly: A Physician’s First Year by Matt McCarthy
336 pages

I feel like the title of this book is fairly explanatory but just in case…This book follows Doctor McCarthy in his first year of interning in New York – his dealings with other doctors, patients, life in and out of the hospital. If you’ve ever watched the old show, Scrubs, it was pretty much like reading the first season.

I really enjoyed this book. Not only does Matt McCarthy go into the ins and outs of eve
Jul 04, 2015 Kelly rated it it was amazing
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At times gut-wrenching, at-times joyous but all the time beautiful, Matt McCarthy's The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly is one of the most unfailingly honest books I've read in a long time. It's the rare (and some would say nonexistent) doctor that starts off confident, and McCarthy pulls no punches about his insecurities in his account of his first year as an intern.

McCarthy's memoir is one of utter exhaustion and debil
Feb 19, 2015 Traci rated it really liked it
I received an advance copy of this book thanks to a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

This book is a chronicle of the first year of the author's residency at a NYC hospital. He details the extremely long hours, his feelings and emotions for various patients (including one awaiting a heart transplant that he became very close to), as well as a serious health scare of his own. This was a compelling read for me, as I've worked in the healthcare system for many years, so have interacted with a large nu
Biblio Files
Feb 25, 2015 Biblio Files rated it it was amazing
Apparently they are teaching writing in medical school these days. What else can explain Oliver Sacks, Atul Gawande, Lewis Thomas, Pauline Chen, and so many more? Matt McCarthy can join that group now, because his The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly is right up there with the works of these other doctor-writers.

In describing his first year out of medical school as an intern or a first year resident in a hospital, McCarthy tells a story that combines the solve-the-mystery aspect of the Think Li
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Matt McCarthy is an assistant professor of medicine at Cornell and a staff physician at Weill Cornell Medical Center. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Slate, The New England Journal of Medicine, and Deadspin, where he writes the Medspin column.
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“Going to give you some words of wisdom,” he said, “that were passed down to me when I became a surgeon. Consider them a surgeon’s survival guide.” I closed my eyes briefly, indicating I was ready to absorb. “When you can eat, eat. When you can sleep, sleep. When you can fuck, fuck. But do not fuck with the pancreas.” 6 likes
“We are wrestling with some form of imposter syndrome, unable to internalize and appreciate our own accomplishments” 6 likes
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