|The House of God|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Followed by||Mount Misery|
The House of God is a satirical novel by Samuel Shem (a pseudonym of the psychiatrist Stephen Bergman), published in 1978. Satire is often strictly defined as a literary genre or form; although in practice it is also found in the graphic and Performing arts In satire human Samuel Shem is the Pen-name of the American Psychiatrist Stephen Joseph Bergman (1944- A pseudonym is a fictitious alternative to a person's legal name (see Alias) A psychiatrist (also archaically called an alienist) is a Physician who specializes in Psychiatry and is certified in treating Mental disorders Year 1978 ( MCMLXXVIII) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1978 Gregorian calendar) It portrays the psychological harm done to medical residents during the course of medical residency in the early 1970's. Residency is a stage of graduate medical training. A resident physician or resident is a person who has received a Medical degree ( MD Residency is a stage of graduate medical training. A resident physician or resident is a person who has received a Medical degree ( MD
Dr. Roy Basch is an intelligent, naive junior resident (i. e. , intern or "tern") working in a hospital called the House of God, after completing his medical studies at the BMS ("Best Medical School"). A medical intern is a term used for a Physician in training who has completed Medical school. Medical education A medical school or faculty of medicine is a Tertiary educational institution—or part of such an institution—that teaches Medicine He is poorly prepared for the grueling hours and the sudden responsibilities without good guidance from senior attending physicians. An attending physician (also known as an attending, consultant or staff physician is a Physician who has completed residency and practices Medicine He commences the year on a rotation supervised by an enigmatic, iconoclastic and wise senior resident who goes by the name The Fat Man. The Fat Man teaches him that the only way to keep the patients in good health and to survive psychologically is to break the official rules. The Fat Man provides his residents with wisdom such as his own "Laws of the House of God" (which amount to 13 by the end of the book). One of his teachings is that in the House of God, most of the diagnostic procedures, treatments, and medications that are received by the patients known as "gomers" (see Glossary, below) actually harm these patients instead of helping them. Basch becomes convinced of the accuracy of the Fat Man's advice and begins to follow it. Because he follows the Fat Man's advice and does nothing to the gomers, they remain in good health. Therefore, ironically his team is recognized as one of the best in the hospital, and he is recognized as an excellent intern by eveyone, even though he is breaking the rules.
Later, Basch must leave the Fat Man's team for a rotation with another team. He is supervised by a more conventional resident named Jo, who, unlike the Fat Man, follows the rules, but ironically, unknowingly hurts the gomers by doing so. Basch survives the rotation with Jo by claiming to perform numerous tests and treatments on the gomers while in reality he actually does nothing. These patients again do well, and Basch's reputation as an excellent intern is maintained.
The book also details the great amount of hard, distasteful work the residents must perform, the sometimes poor working conditions, their lack of sleep, their lack of time to spend with friends and family, and the emotional demands of the work.
During the course of the novel, working in the hospital takes a psychological toll on Basch. His personality and outlook change, and has outbursts of temper. He has adulterous trysts with various nurses (portrayed in great detail) and Social Service workers (nicknamed the "Sociable Cervix"). Social work is a discipline involving the application of Social theory and research methods to study and improve the lives of people groups and societies and his relationship with his faithful girlfriend Berry suffers. A colleague, Wayne Potts, who had been constantly badgered by the upper hierarchy and haunted by a patient, named Lazlow and nicknamed "The Yellow Man" for his fulminant necrotic hepatitis, who goes comatose and eventually dies because Potts had not put him on steroids early on, commits suicide. In Medicine, a coma (from the Greek koma, meaning deep sleep is a profound state of Unconsciousness. Basch becomes more callous, and he secretly euthanizes a patient, a man called Saul the leukemic tailor, who had gone into remission once but was back in the hospital in incredible pain and asking for death. Euthanasia (literally "good death" in Ancient Greek) refers to the practice of ending a life in a painless manner Basch becomes more and more emotionally unstable, until finally his friends force him to attend a mime performance by Marcel Marceau, where he has an experience of catharsis and recovers his emotional stability. Marcel Marceau (born Marcel Mangel) ( 22 March 1923 &ndash 22 September 2007) was a well-known French Mime artist Catharsis ( Κάθαρσις) is a Greek word meaning "purification" "cleansing" or "clarification
By the end of the book, it turns out that the psychiatry resident, Cohen, has managed to inspire almost the whole year's group of interns and two well-spoken policemen, Gilheeney and Quick, to pursue a career in psychiatry, and that the terrible year has convinced most of the interns to receive psychiatric help. Psychiatry is a medical specialty which exists to study, prevent, and treat Mental disorders in Humans Psychiatric The book ends with Basch and Berry vacationing in France before he begins his psychiatry residency, which is how the book begins as well. But even while vacationing, bad memories of the House of God haunt Basch. He is convinced that he could not have gotten through the year without Berry, and he asks her to marry him.
The book is very likely autobiographical, as the BMS is a thinly veiled Harvard Medical School (commonly called HMS), and The House of God representing the Beth Israel Hospital now a part of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, one of the HMS-affiliated hospitals in Boston, Massachusetts. An autobiography, from the Greek αὐτός autos "self" βίος bios "life" and γράφειν graphein "to write" Harvard Medical School ( HMS) is one of the graduate schools of Harvard University and currently the #1 medical school in America as ranked by U Both an international and regional referral center Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC in Boston Massachusetts is a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical The Commonwealth of Massachusetts ( is a state located in the New England region of the northeastern United States.
It is very likely that some details have been exaggerated (such as an orgy in the resuscitation room), and towards the end of the book events take on a semi-hallucinogenic tone, both of which can be taken as a depiction of the effects of chronic stress and sleep deprivation. In any case, upon its appearance, many American doctors felt that "The House of God" resonated with their own experiences during their internship training. However, according to the author, many older physicians were offended by the work.
Several of the terms common to the jargon of junior hospital staff were widely popularized by the book:
In-jokes abound in the work. An in-joke (also known as an in joke or inside joke) is a Joke whose Humor is clear only to those people who are "inside" a social One of the principal characters is Eat My Dust Eddie, a doctor so-called because of the saying embroidered on his jacket. His name is often abbreviated as EMD, which is also the acronym of the feared terminal cardiac event electromechanical dissociation. Pulseless Electrical Activity (also known by the older term Electromechanical Dissociation or Non-Perfusing Rhythm) refers to any heart rhythm observed on the
In 1984, a film was made out of the book but never released in theaters or on VHS/DVD. Year 1984 ( MCMLXXXIV) was a Leap year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1984 Gregorian calendar) The film was shown on HBO a few times, mostly as filler in non-peak hours. It starred Charles Haid as The Fat Man, Tim Matheson as Roy, and featured Ozzie Davis as a doctor-turned-patient. Michael Richard was also in the film, playing Dr. Pincus.
The TV medical sitcom-drama Scrubs features numerous references to The House of God, which was reading material for some of the show's writers. Scrubs is an Emmy and Peabody Award -winning American Comedy-drama that premiered on October 2 2001 on NBC. . "Turfing", "Bouncing" and "Gomers" occasionally feature in the show's dialogue, in the episode My Balancing Act, Dr. Cox quotes the Zebra rule ("Newbie, do you happen to know what a zebra is? It's a diagnosis of a ridiculously obscure disease when it's much more likely that the patient has a common illness presenting with uncommon symptoms. The following is a complete episode list for the television show Scrubs, which began being broadcast on October 2 2001 Percival " Perry " Cox MD (most commonly referred to as Dr In other words, if you hear hoof-beats, you just go ahead and think horsies -- not zebras. ") and in the episode My Student J.D. quotes the medical student rule ("A famous doctor once said, "Show me a med student that only triples my work, and I'll kiss his feet". The following is a complete episode list for the television show Scrubs, which began being broadcast on October 2 2001 Jonathan Michael " John " Dorian MD, better known as J ").