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Thu Nov 29, 2012, 09:15 AM

Samuel Shem, 34 Years After 'The House of God'

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/11/samuel-shem-34-years-after-the-house-of-god/265675/



For better or worse, except in real danger, I don't seem to run on fear. Guilt, yes; fear, no.

It's a good thing, because my book The House of God enraged many among the older generation of doctors. I was maligned and disliked. The book was censored by medical school deans, who often kept me from speaking at their schools. None of it really bothered me, though. I was secure in the understanding that all I had done was tell the truth about medical training.

I took this pseudonym because I was just starting my psychiatric practice and wanted to protect my patients from knowing that their therapist had written such an irreverent novel. (They all found out, and didn't care -- but "Shem" had arrived, and refused to depart.) I also felt that real writers had no place in going out and publicizing their novels. I refused all invitations. And then one day I got a letter forwarded from my publisher, which included the line:

"I'm on call in a V.A. Hospital in Tulsa, and if weren't for your book I'd kill myself."

I realized that I could be helpful to doctors who were going through the brutality of training. And so I began what has turned out to be a 35-year odyssey of speaking out, around the world, about resisting the inhumanity of medical training. The title of my talk is almost always the same: "Staying Human in Health Care."

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Reply Samuel Shem, 34 Years After 'The House of God' (Original post)
xchrom Nov 2012 OP
onyourleft Nov 2012 #1
Warpy Nov 2012 #2

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 09:28 AM

1. Thank you for...

...posting. This book is one of my favorites, one I've re-read over the years.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 04:43 PM

2. The book is also beloved by nurses

especially those of us who are familiar with the hospital he wrote about in Boston.

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