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Intern: A Doctor's Initiation Hardcover – December 26, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (December 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374146594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374146597
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 9.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Very few books can make you laugh and cry at the same time. This is one of them. Sandeep reveals himself in this book as he takes us on a wondrous journey through one of the most difficult years of his life. It is mandatory reading for anyone who has been even the slightest bit curious about how a doctor gets trained, and for physicians, it is a valuable record of our initiation.” —Sanjay Gupta, CNN medical correspondent and author of Chasing Life

Intern will resonate not only with doctors, but with anyone who has struggled with the grand question: ‘what should I do with my life?’ In a voice of profound honesty and intelligence, Sandeep Jauhar gives us an insider's look at the medical profession, and also a dramatic account of the psychological challenges of early adulthood.” —Akhil Sharma, author of An Obedient Father

“Told of here is a time of travail and testing—a doctor’s initiation into the trials of a demanding yet hauntingly affirming profession—all conveyed by a skilled, knowing writer whose words summon memories of his two great predecessors, Dr. Anton Chekhov and Dr. William Carlos Williams: a noble lineage to which this young doctor’s mind, heart, and soul entitle him to belong.” — Robert Coles

"Intern is not just a gripping tale of becoming a doctor. It's also a courageous critique, a saga of an immigrant family living (at times a little uneasily) the American dream, and even a love story. A great read and a valuable addition to the literature--and I use the word advisedly--of medical training." --Melvin Konner, M.D. Ph.D., author of Becoming a Doctor

"In this era when medical shows abound on TV, Jauhar demonstrates the power of the written word in the hands of a sensitive, thoughtful observer and an experienced, gifted writer. Intern is a compelling, accurate and heartfelt chronicle of what that year is really like. It will be the standard by which future such memoirs will be judged."--Abraham Verghese, author of My Own Country and The Tennis Partner


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Customer Reviews

I read the book in two sittings--it was just too good to put down.
ReadersAdvisory
Dr. Jauhar does an excellent job of detailing the trials and tribulation experienced by young physicians entering into residency.
Jeremy T. Hall
Finally, there are notes in this book that contain very interesting information.
Stephen Pletko

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By cardiolojoe on December 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a physician, I don't have much time to read a book for leisure, but I couldn't put this book down.
You don't have to be in the medical profession, or have gone through internship to appreciate this book, but it definitely brought back memories from my own training. I wish I had kept a journal during my internship and residency.
Will this book be our generation's version of House Of God?- I'm not sure, but one thing is for sure, it is a great read, well written, and a lot better than the sweater I got for christmas!
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By uppereastsidegal on July 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
Multiple reasons led to my desire to read this book. I have been reading Dr Jauhar's articles in the NYT for the past decade. My father and Jauhar's in-laws, the Sharmas, were physician colleagues at the same local NJ community hospitals. I interacted with them at one point and I even met Dr Jauhar briefly at his in-laws house in 2002. Jauhar also is part of what I label as a new American breed - "the South Asian American physician elite". They are educated at the best undergraduate schools, go to top medical schools, train at premier residencies and fellowships and marry someone just like themselves. No surprises here.

I feel my review adds a very different perspective than the ones written here over the past 3 years. Like Jauhar and his wife, I am the offspring of the first wave of South Asian immigrants who came to the US in the 1960s and 1970s. Many, if not most, South Asian immigrant parents not only put a premium on education and money making careers, but pressure their kids to go into medicine. There is a South Asian fixation, bordering on pathological, to become a doctor and to marry one. I have never seen this in any other community. This is the environment that Jauhar and I grew up in.

I believe a significant part of Jauhar's early conflict, ambivalence, insecurity, and doubt about becoming a physician comes from the cultural baggage South Asian American kids carry. We are driven to succeed at any cost, constantly compared to a more accomplished sibling, relative, or friend (in this case his brother Rajiv), and made to feel ashamed if we are not. Nothing is good enough. I think many South Asian American physicians have dealt with some of the same struggles and experiences Jauhar have, but became doctors anyway.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Quinley VINE VOICE on June 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Books that chronicle first-person accounts of the medical training gauntlet could fill a large gurney. How many more memoirs of sleep-deprived bewilderment are we to take? What new or novel insights could a doctor provide? Sandeep Jauhar offers his tome to the groaning collection in INTERN: A Doctor's Initiation.

And an initiation it is, bordering on a medical version of hazing. Jauhar writes with uncommon skill, precision and sensitivity, disclosing himself behind the white lab coat in confessing his uncertainties, sibling rivalry with his older brother, the weight of parental expectations and the tsunami of information doctors are expected to learn. During the journey, Jauhar becomes afflicted with disc problems and gets a firsthand taste of the joys of being a patient.

Seeing the "initiation" through Jauhar's eyes forces one to wonder, "Is this really any way to train physicians?" The process seems designed to grind them down to the point where patients are obstacles to "get through," in order to get to sleep or on to the next step. Medicine becomes a matter of checking off the boxes and covering your ass in case you are sued for medical malpractice. The process almost seems designed to callous doctors and inure them to empathic impulses. The book also suggests what a sham the so-called "informed consent" process has become, perfunctory paperwork completed to CYA instead of a clear communication of risks and complications.

INTERN is like a car wreck - you don't want to look but you cannot help yourself stare. Dr. Jauhar emerges with seemingly most of his compassion intact. One wonders if he is more the exception than the rule. A good, albeit unsettling, view of medical training!
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By N. A. Phi on July 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
There are several books I've read that speak along the same lines of this book but there is one things that stands out. The difference in this publication lies in that the author speaks magnitudes about one's natural tendency to feel lost in the environment of medicine. It illuminates the emotions a person experiences with clarity and depth. More importantly, in my opinion Dr. Jauhar displays bravery in undergoing the task of writing his experiences.. I do not know any person who is willing to admit to their weaknesses though we all have them. He goes on to create a lucid picture of the hierarchy in the health system while taking the reader along for a ride down nostolgic paths of how one found his/her purpose in pursuing such a career. There is not much more to say except Dr. Jauhar should be applauded for expressing the truth that much of us are scared to admit we dealt with at one time.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dorothy W. Dundas on December 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Intern
This book is a brilliant, honest and touching memoir of one man's journey through his medical internship at New York Hospital. I could not put it down. I had no idea how grueling the process was. He has shared intimate details of his daily life on the wards, the stresses as well as the rewards. Yes, I give it as many stars as there are in the sky! DWD
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