In medical school, Matt McCarthy dreamed of being a different kind of doctor—the kind of mythical, unflappable physician who could reach unreachable patients. But when he almost lost a patient on his first night on call, he found himself scrambling. His dreams of mastery quickly gave way to hopes of simply surviving life in the hospital, where confidence was hard to come by and no amount of med school training could dispel the terror of facing actual patients.
This funny, candid memoir of McCarthy’s intern year at a New York hospital provides a scorchingly frank look at how doctors are made, taking readers into patients' rooms and doctors' conferences to see a physician's journey from ineptitude to competence. McCarthy's one stroke of luck paired him with a brilliant second-year adviser he called "Baio" (owing to his resemblance to a Charles in Charge-era Scott Baio), who proved to a remarkable teacher with a wicked sense of humor. He would learn even more from the people he cared for, including a man named Benny, who was living in the hospital for months at a time while waiting for a heart transplant. But no amount of teaching could help McCarthy when an accident put his own health at risk, and showed him all too painfully the thin line between doctor and patient.
Mixing the tense drama of ER with the screwball humor of Scrubs, The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly offers a window on to hospital life that dispenses with sanctimony and self-seriousness while emphasizing the black-comic paradox of becoming a doctor: How do you learn how to save lives in a job where there is no practice?