White Coat: Becoming A Doctor At Harvard Medical School

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9780688153137: White Coat: Becoming A Doctor At Harvard Medical School
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In White Coat, Ellen Rothman offers a vivid account of her four years at one of the best medical schools in the country, and opens the infamously closed door between patient and doctor. Touching on today's most important medical issues -- such as HMOs, AIDS, and assisted suicide -- the author navigates her way through despair, exhilaration, and a lot of exhaustion in Harvard's classrooms and Boston's hospitals to earn the indisputable title to which we entrust our lives.

With a thoughtful, candid voice, Rothman writes about a wide range of experiences -- from a dream about holding the hand of a cadaver she had dissected to the acute embarrassment she felt when asking patients about their sexual histories. She shares her horror at treating a patient with a flesh-eating skin infection, the anxiety of being "pimped" by doctors for information (when doctors quiz students on anatomy and medicine), as well as the ultimate reward of making the transformation and of earning a doctor's white coat.

For readers of Perri Klass, Richard Selzer, and the millions of fans of ER, White Coat is a fascinating account of one woman's journey through school and into the high-stakes drama of the medical world.

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Review:

Books about the education of physicians are so plentiful they practically constitute their own subgenre. For starters, there's Melvin Konner's Becoming a Doctor, A Not Entirely Benign Procedure by Perri Klass, and several books by Robert Marion (including Learning to Play God, Rotations, and The Intern Blues). Joining the field is Ellen Lerner Rothman with a memoir of her years at Harvard Medical School. It's a workman-like account of learning the art and science of medicine in the era of HMOs, in which paperwork seems to have replaced healing as the main product of hospital bureaucracy. Rothman wrestles with the dilemmas of compassion and objectivity as she encounters patients, learns procedures, and prepares to don the white coat that symbolizes physician competence in a world of backless patient gowns.

Of particular interest are Rothman's accounts of the rabid fan base among medical students for a certain top-rated medical TV drama; they study its jargon almost as exhaustively as they review the physiology of the heart. "It was just like on ER," she notes following an encounter with a traumatic cardiac arrest that ended with the patient's death. The lines between pop culture and science are ever blurred. --Patrizia DiLucchio

About the Author:

Ellen Lerner Rothman, M.D., lives with her husband, Carlos Lerner, in Brookline, Massachusetts. She is currently doing her residency in the Boston Combined Pediatrics Program at Boston Children's Hospital and Boston City Hospital. This is her first book.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780688175894: White Coat: Becoming A Doctor At Harvard Medical School

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ISBN 10:  0688175899 ISBN 13:  9780688175894
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks, 2000
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9780742937420: White Coat: Becoming a Doctor at Harvard Medical School

Willia..., 1999
Hardcover

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