About Us Contact Us Help




Book Review - Intern: A Doctor's Initiation By Sandeep Jauhar

Judi Silva

Intern: A Doctor's Initiation by Sandeep Jauhar
(Farrar Straus Giroux, 2008)

Humility is something one rarely finds among doctors. It was refreshing to find that in the recounting of Dr. Jauhar's story, he was very quick to admit the inadequacies and limitations he possessed. His candor was much appreciated. Every student entering the medical field and those already pursuing this profession should read his story as it will allow them to understand what lies ahead of them, assure them that they are not the only ones feeling the way they do, and comfort them with the fact that there is a light at the end of the tunnel (and no it's not a train coming in the opposite direction).

The fact that Jauhar switched from a career in experimental condensed-matter in physics after earning a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley to internal medicine at the New York Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan only added to the struggle buried deep within him. Yet, with the encouragement, prodding, tough love and understanding from his parents, older brother (who is also a doctor) and wife Sonia coupled with his dedication and hard work, he's come a long way.

The word initiation, with which Dr. Jauhar so apply includes in the title, conjures up more ideas than just a "beginning", "introduction" or "entrance".  Intern allows us to "make the rounds" with Dr. Jauhar during the many harrowing days and nights in one of the busiest New York City hospitals. In doing so, the reader plunges into the trials that led the author to question so many procedures and protocols associated with medical care. An eighty hour work week certainly constitutes a brutal initiation rite, which is only part of the rigorous training linked with this profession. It's no wonder that he and so many like him question their decision to become doctors in the first place.

Persevering to find himself while dealing with irate patients, and self-righteous residents and doctors he challenged the practices he despised in The New York Times, again questioning his chosen path. Beginning to believe that being in the medical field meant the patients' concerns came last, he suddenly became a patient himself. His conclusion in the aftermath was that today's high-tech medicine can be a humane science after all.

He completed his cardiology fellowship training at New York University Medical Center in 2004 (with specialized heart-failure training at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center) and is now the director of the Heart Failure Program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and a medical journalist in New York City.  

Although after reading his story, it certainly doesn't urge me in any way to enter the medical field, however, it does give me a better perspective on what a doctor has to go through before reaching that status in life. The stories of both the patients and students were touching, infuriating, heartwarming and tearful. They explain clearly the emotional and physical roller-coaster these (sleep-deprived in most cases) students must traverse through if they ever hope to reach their desired objective. Unfair though it is, until the medical field catches up with new and innovative ideas in training there will be those who become casualties in seeking to rise above the "boot camp" experience. In the meanwhile, may we come to appreciate the struggles and dedication of doctors like Dr. Sandeep Jauhar.


Bookmark and Share |

You may also access this article through our web-site http://www.lokvani.com/

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Copyrights Help