Dr. Tom Arno will tell you without reservation that Marcus Welby is an inaccurate portrayal of the American physician's demeanor-grossly inaccurate.
Understandably, in the sixties, we wanted to think doctors were calm and self-assured, but Welby never showed himself emotionally. He was milquetoast-toast, a shoe salesman wearing a white coat. Ben Casey was considerably more believable if only because Vince Edwards, who played the title role, was intense and brooding, lending him an air of professional pique and borderline arrogance.
Truth be told, ole Ben's character is pretty close to the real thing with internship and residency when competition fierce and everyone's jockeying for position with the higher-ups. Come to think of it, maybe Ben was cranky from fatigue, an occupational hazard, especially during training years.
That is the truth, and I know because I lived through it. The American people need to be informed about the reality of medical school and beyond and how doctors are affected spiritually and physically, personally, and professionally. No one sails through it unscathed; no one is immune.
As the only cardiologist in a small town, I was on call most of the time. I was called to assist on a young guy, age 45, with an acute MI (heart attack) who was in an unstable rhythm. I stabilized his rhythm then asked the nurses to "Shock him now, The nurses shocked a 45 year old male into a normal rhythm.
The patient awoke 1-2 minutes later screaming on 'being on fire' and 'burning up'. As you will read, when he died, his near death experience took him not to Heaven, but to Hell. I spoke with the patient later that day, or I should say he wanted to speak to me. "What's on your mind, John?". Doc, sit down, I went to hell, I was in a fire pit and saw what I believe was the devil." He than began to cry, I'M NOT CRAZY" "i went to..." "Whoa, John, slow down as I sat on the bed, and tell me what you saw and heard?"
My book is about what you will never hear or read about physicians. What does it take to train a doctor? What are the strains on his or her family? What are the issues doctors face in and outside their practice? Most importantly, how these problems are solved may very well determine the success or failure of that physician.
I graduated from medical school in 1978 and finished my cardiology fellowship in 1983. I am board certified in both internal medicine and cardiology and board eligible for critical care medicine. I took my training and moved to where I was needed the most-in a small town where no cardiologist was within thirty miles. Because of the sensitive nature of much of this book, all names and towns are fictitious.