I’m doing a dual book review because to be honest, these books were very similar. Michael Collins, the author of Hot Lights, Cold Steel, had a better sense of humor, therefore the book was more entertaining in my opinion. However, both Collins and Paul Austin (author of Something for the Pain) had similar things to say about their resident experience.
One major theme that I have come across while reading these books written by doctors is this: doctors are trained in an experimental setting and patients are the guinea pigs. Yet, doctors are told they should be working in the best interest of the patient at all times. When medical students come to realize this hypocrisy, they are left feeling confused, guilty, and depressed.
And it is true that until you are a well established name in medicine, you are experimenting on patients. Why do you think patients don’t want residents in their operating rooms or giving them medical advice? I can’t blame them! Hell, even the best doctors out there are making decisions 60% on what they know medically and 40% on what they think personally. That’s a little scary when you stop to think about it. But how else are we supposed to teach doctors? They have to practice. They have to experiment.
I want to find a book that outlines a resident’s experience from a woman’s point of view. However, when I search for such a book I can’t find one, which I find interesting, if not just plain odd. Why are female doctors not writing books about their medical school experience?
Anyway, like I said, Austin and Collins wrote very similar books: they detail their feelings when faced with difficult medical decisions (should I amputate the leg of a teen to save his life or try to save the leg?), pinpoint critical issues that are not being addressed in the health industry (such as the experimenting on patients issue), both doctors praise nurses as “saving” them many times over, which as a future nurse I appreciate, and both express the difficulty of getting through residency with a wife, children and no money.