The Author of The House of God
"You will get a little pissed off, double over in laughter and even cry a little. If you read one medical drama, make it this one"
Sanjay Gupta, M.D.
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery The Emory Clinic
Chief Medical Correspondent, CNN
Reviews of Man's 4th Best Hospital
“Oh my god. This book is brilliant enough to start a revolution. Dedicated nurses, doctors, and all haters of Electronic Medical Records unite! Together we must heed the Fat Man's call "to put the human back in health care."
- Theresa Brown, PhD, BSN, RN
Author of The New York Times bestseller The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients' Lives and a frequent contributor to The New York Times
“Any doctor I know read House of God and was transformed by it. It was an honest, raw and unapologetic journey into the world of a hospital internship. It was like being let in on the secret handshake and all the rituals that accompany it. Best of all, the narrator and author deftly pulled on all our emotions, including humor and anxiety, to spin out a universal human drama that has stuck with me decades later. With Man’s 4th Best Hospital, Dr. Sam Shem has done it again. This time all of us--doctors and patients alike--are along for the ride into the entire universe of medicine, which is at once both wonderful and ludicrous. The story of doctors, overwhelmed by long noxious hours in front of billing computers called Electronic Health Records, trying to treat patients humanely even as the hospital is more interested in treating the bottom line, feels so timely and relevant. You will get a little pissed off, double over in laughter and even cry a little. If you read one medical drama, make it this one.”
- Sanjay Gupta, M.D.
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, The Emory Clinic and Chief Medical Correspondent, CNN
"Samuel Shem is the raucous and insightful physician of the soul. If you want to know why the doctor spends all visit looking at a computer instead of you, and if you want to know how the doctor feels about it, this is the book for you: Man’s 4th is a mordantly funny tour through modern medicine with a powerful prescription for how to change."
- Bill McKibben, bestselling author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? and The End of Nature
“Why do Americans spend so much on health care? Other nations spend far less with no major differences in the quantity or quality of care. The problem, as Man’s 4th Best Hospital makes clear, is the complete commercialization of health care in America. Doctors are glued to computer screens entering data to both guarantee maximum payment and to monitor their efficiency. Customers have replaced patients. Endless layers of bureaucrats, investors and MBAs watching the bottom line drive the system. Doctors are now providers taught to meditate and practice mindfulness to bear the stress of a profit mad workplace. Sam Shem, as he did in The House of God, provides a caustic and overdue update on the cold and bureaucratic world that awaits the sick and the dying if they are lucky enough to be able to afford it.”
- Arthur L. Caplan, PhD.
Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor of Bioethics, Department of Population Health
“Samuel Shem has challenged generations of doctors in his writing to think deeply about why they chose medicine—affirming that it should be a calling rather than a mere career. His many works illuminate the humanistic core of clinical care, and serve as a bulwark against a system increasingly characterized by avarice and anonymity.”
- Jerome Groopman, MD
Professor, Harvard Medical School and author of How Doctors Think
“Shem’s influence through The House of God is enormous. Once again he uses his unique writing style, satire and comedy to allow the most serious examination of the medical profession, both its joys and its seamy underbelly.”
- Abraham Verghese
Author of Cutting for Stone
Letter from Dr. Levinson, MD, PhD
"I have JUST finished your book and am so raw with emotion that I am unable to assemble words into anything coherent. I have never expected the book's richness of heart and soul and deep humanity. A few thoughts are all I can muster right now. Your depiction of contemporary US healthcare as the heartless and deeply wrong-minded abandonment of humanity for screens and cash is so clear and so perfectly on target that I feel as though you reached inside me and gave the words I have never been able to find what has eaten at me these last 30 years. And you gave words to the joy I feel with patients in my little office every day, Shem.
I laughed out loud many times and I cried, too. More than once, and with real tears.
So your book is beautifully written, made its points, and even touched me. But what I never saw coming - never expected - was the book’s richness, your richness of heart and soul which touched me not in plot alone, but in a sense of deep humanity, as Wallace Stegner did in Crossing to Safety.
I think your book is perfect."
John Levinson, MD, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School