The House of God and Fiction as Resistance at 40
We are discussing 1978 novel The House of God. A cult favorite among medical students and doctors, the book is a fictional account of the internship experience of author Samuel Shem at Beth Israel Hospital in 1973-1974. Funny, angry, and honest, the book spotlighted the injustices of medical training and the patient care of that era and was pilloried by establishment medicine years after publication for its razor-sharp truths. The JAMA Network, in 2019, produced a short documentary, The Making of The House of God, detailing the book’s origins and the people and events that inspired its stories. Does it hold up 40 plus years later? What has changed and what remains the same in medicine?
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