House Of God – Samuel Shem

Published in 1978, The House of God is a classic but an important read for any pre-medical or medical student.  Dr. Samuel Shem takes us on a thrilling journey into his life as an intern at one of the premier teaching hospitals in Boston.  Through his vivid writing, you meet his fellow interns, the residents who supervise and teach him, and the nurses he works with and lusts after.  His daydreams sometimes appear to bleed into his reality with fantasy and sexual encounters.  He and his fellow doctors struggle with difficult cases and tragic circumstances which change their lives forever.  While this memoir does not give a realistic preview of what to expect on the wards nowadays in the 21st century, it is a very entertaining and moving read.

The novel follows a group of medical interns at a fictionalized version of Beth Israel Hospital over the course of a year in the early 1970s, focusing on the psychological harm and dehumanization caused by their residency training. The book, described by the New York Times as “raunchy, troubling and hilarious”, was viewed as scandalous at the time of its publication, but acquired a cult following and ultimately came to be regarded as a touchstone in the evolving discussion of humanism, ethics, and training in medicine. Source: