Internal Medicine

Internal Medicine

A Doctor's Stories

Book - 2014
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"Out of the crucible of medical training, award-winning writer Terrence Holt shapes this ... account of residency, the years-long ordeal in which doctors are made. 'Amid all the mess and squalor of the hospital, with its blind random unraveling of lives,' [this book] finds the compassion from which doctors discover the strength to care"--Dust jacket flap.
Publisher: New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company, [2014]
ISBN: 9780871408754
Branch Call Number: 616 HOLT
Characteristics: xii, 273 pages ; 22 cm


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Mar 07, 2015

You are going to read about the formative years of a physician's training - some of the raw emotions triggered by human contact with patients, staff and colleagues. For anyone in medicine or the healing arts, it will constantly trigger memories and nods, as is yup, been there. For the non-medical reader, it will provide some insight into hospital-based medicine, hospice care, and what its like to step into someone else's home. It is a personalized account that will reward you with an interesting and engaging read.

ksoles Dec 10, 2014

Not just another "life in the ER" doctor memoir, "Internal Medicine" blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction in compiling nine fact-based stories. Having earned an M.F.A. in creative writing and a Ph.D. in English before studying medicine, Terrence Holt wields his unique talent here; as he explains in the introduction, he decided that the best way to capture the essence of his journey through residency without violating patient confidentiality was to write a series of “parables” that drew on his own experiences. Indeed, the collection rings true in both details and spirit, beginning with a doctor’s first night on call as an intern and ending with ethical questions that a physician ponders 40 months post-residency.

Each of Holt's accounts compels the reader and provokes thought: the narrator faces a dying woman who needs oxygen but finds the mask claustrophobic; cancer eats away at the mouth and jaw of an artist; a psychiatric patient self-inflicts horrific pain. In a particularly poignant scene, Holt tells a young woman of her imminent death: “I’d like to say that I held her, or said soothing words. But I don’t hold female patients, even when they cry, and I had no soothing words. I knelt there and I watched her, and struggled to comprehend what I saw.”

How can a doctor best comfort patients such as these? What exactly is in a physician's job description? How do medical professionals cope with endless dilemmas and a myriad of personalities? Dr. Holt never settles for easy answers. The questions he poses reflect the frequent uncertainties of doctors and patients alike and will leave readers thinking long after they close the book's cover.

mvkramer Oct 28, 2014

This is a meditative set of anecdotes. Not much heartwarming subject matter here - stories focus on death, dying, and the strange ways the mind and body can fail. A good book for fans of poetry - conveying haunting atmosphere and evoking deep feeling in just a few words.


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