RESIDENT ON CALL by Scott A. Rivkees


A Doctor's Reflections on His First Years at Mass General
Email this review


Firsthand accounts of life as a newly graduated pediatric doctor.

When Rivkees (Pediatrics/Yale School of Medicine) entered his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, an institution affectionately nicknamed "Man's Greatest Hospital," he had recently graduated from a medical school in New Jersey. Like his fellow residents, some from austere schools like Harvard and Yale, he was not fully prepared for the demanding schedules, exhaustion and on-the-spot decisions required from a doctor on call. “[W]e soon saw that we were all the same—the same products of the same books, the same notes, and the same bland lectures,” writes the author. “We were to be later distinguished by our drive, creativity, and judgment.” Over time, and with the help of older doctors who had the patience and knowledge to diagnosis some bizarre cases, Rivkees learned the ins and outs of pediatric care. In short, almost abrupt prose, the author recalls riveting memories of those early years of practice when he had to learn how to start IVs in veins the size of pencil leads, how to diagnose rare diseases and how to deal with the agony of losing a patient. Threaded throughout the quick bedside stories of numerous patients are accounts of the humorous practical jokes Rivkees and his fellow residents played on one another to combat fatigue and boredom, including the theft of a 2,000-year-old mummy. Although many patients are introduced via emergency room or in-patient scenarios, most are abandoned in lieu of another tale, leaving readers to ponder what happened to that particular person after his or her hospital visit was over. Quick forays into the dates the author had with a variety of "Cathys" round out the reflections of a man who became a world leader in pediatrics and pediatric endocrinology.

Amusing medical stories as seen through the eyes of a new doctor.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-7627-9453-9
Page count: 232pp
Publisher: Lyons Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2014


IndieThe Surgeon's Obol by A. Stuart\
by A. Stuart\
IndieSTILL STANDING by Vickie Mabry-Height
by Vickie Mabry-Height
NonfictionDOCTORED by Sandeep Jauhar
by Sandeep Jauhar