Doctor Confidential:

Secrets Behind the Veil

Doctor Confidential: Secrets Behind the Veil tells the autobiographical story of Dr. Rick Sheff’s training as a family physician in medical school and residency. Yet this book is so much more than a memoir of medical training. Written more than 25 years after the events it describes with the wisdom and insight of a nationally recognized leader of American medicine, each story is carefully crafted to teach profound lessons about the journey of doctor and patient, but also lessons in living well. In the end, readers feel that they themselves have been healed through the gift of this extraordinary literary work.

Synopsis

Doctor Confidential: Secrets Behind the Veil tells the autobiographical story of Dr. Rick Sheff’s training as a family physician in medical school and residency. Yet this book is so much more than a memoir of medical training. Written more than 25 years after the events it describes with the wisdom and insight of a nationally recognized leader of American medicine, each story is carefully crafted to teach profound lessons about the journey of doctor and patient, but also lessons in living well. In the end, readers feel that they themselves have been healed through the gift of this extraordinary literary work.

“…every patient, doctor in training, and practicing physician should read this book.”

Bernie Siegel, MD

Excerpts from Joyfully Shattered

Excerpt #1
Gross Anatomy:
The first cut into a cadaver

…A new smell brought me back. It began faintly, almost sweetly at first. Then, as we moved deeper down the hallway, it pushed aside the other smells, increasing slowly until it pinched. Formaldehyde. The odor wouldn’t stop growing, now piercing my nostrils, burning with every breath. Just then we stopped before two large, gray, metal doors. For the longest moment, nothing happened. Then, swinging back without a sound, the doors melted away, revealing a cavernous room filled with forty black, stone slab tables, each with a harsh metal light hanging over it. On every table lay a still, silent figure wrapped in white linens. Death hung palpably in the air…

Exceprt #2
Internship:
Pronouncing death for the first time

…Just as I was heading to the on call room to try to grab an hour or two of sleep, the beeper on my belt went off. I stopped at the nearest nursing station to call the extension number on the beeper display.

“Dr. Sheff,” the voice on the other end of the phone began, “Mr. Walters in 217 has just expired. Could you please come pronounce him?”

“What happened?”

“He was a no code. Came in with end stage cancer.”

“I’ll be up in a few minutes.”

No need to rush in responding to this call, I thought. On the way up to the second floor, the phone call played over again in my head…

Table of Contents

Prologue

Part I Medical School

Chapter I Gross Anatomy
That Final Moment When She Absolved Me of Guilt

Chapter II Psychiatry
“Just treat them like people. They’d like that.”

Chapter III Gynecology
The Woman I Knew So Intimately but Would Never Meet

Chapter IV Obstetrics
“It’s wrong. It’s all wrong.”

Chapter V Surgery
“Who’s next?”

Chapter VI Internal Medicine
“So datz vot psychology iz!”

Chapter VII Pediatrics
Something Important Fell Out

Chapter VIII Choosing a Specialty
“What’s love got to do with psychiatry?”

Chapter IX Electives
“You can use this power for the good of patients or to fulfill your own needs. The choice will be yours every day.”

Chapter X Subinternship
Something Important Became Buried, but Not Gone

Part II Residency

Chapter XII Internship
“Hey, Doc! I’m not angry.”

Chapter XIII Junior Residency
One by One the Dying Were Teaching Me What They So Desperately Needed

Chapter XIV Senior Residency
He Taught Me to Listen to My Heart so That I Might Touch His with Healing

Epilogue

The title and even the sub-title do not prepare or even give an adequate hint of the powerful stories that await you in this book. Since I had very little to guide my expectations about the book, I was totally unprepared for the touching but often brutally honest first person story of one man’s personal journey through medical school and residency. The book is a very compelling read.

– John Chancellor, Mentor Coach www.teachthesoul.com

The author’s stories showed that compassion, humor and hardship do exist in the world of medicine. The book was written like a novel. Sometimes I feel that “nonfiction” books can be boring but that was not the case with this book. I could not put it down and when I was finished, I wanted more.The author is a wonderful writer and I cannot wait for book number two. If you are planning a career in medicine or just want a little more information on the world of medicine this is the book for you. So go on out and get a copy of the book. You will not be disappointed.

– Eileen from BooksRUsOnline.com

This is the book so sorely needed as part of the medical training of all physicians at every level of their training. Dr. Richard Sheff has pulled back the screen covering the Wizard of Oz, finding there scarred and bruised physicians struggling with all of the insecurities, fears, angers, and frustrations form their training and expectations from the public that define humanity. He offers insights, he offers healing. This book is a treasure.

– Grady Harp

I finished your book on the night you left Brazil. I was truly held captive from beginning to end and, as I already shared with you, felt like I knew you intimately by the time I completed the book. Thank you for sharing yourself and your story so generously.

The next day I purchased a second copy of the book and donated it to library at the inn I was staying in and inscribed it with an endorsement. Two of the people at the inn began reading it immediately. After I returned home I showed the book to a woman in a book club I belong to. I gave her the book to read, upon her request, on Tuesday evening and when I came by her house this morning, Thursday, to help her with some errands, she was half way through the book and said she couldn’t put it down! We both decided we are going to advocate for our book club to read it this coming year.

– Jan Briski

Indeed, Doctor Confidential reads like a novel. I’m a great believer in the “show me, don’t tell me” school of thought when it comes to writing, and Dr. Sheff’s gift in this department shines on every page. This is not a book “about” medicine, “about” his years of training and residency. It’s a portal into the living experience of becoming a physician—on many levels—and it pulses with life on every page. Indeed, the same skills that make him an extraordinary physician come through in his writing – his eye for detail is uncanny, and his talent with dialogue betrays his keen observation and listening skills, as well as his tendency to pay attention to what’s going on around him (and within him). Though the stories are written in medical terminology, his numerous footnotes leave the lay reader feeling vastly more knowledgeable about many facets of medicine. [read more]

– Elizabeth Thompson, Ph.D.