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A YEAR-LONG NIGHT Tales of a Medical Internship by Robert Klitzman MD (Penguin: $7.95)

February 11, 1990|CHARLES SOLOMON

Robert Klitzman's account of his harrowing internship in a large, prosperous East Coast hospital is more vivid and entertaining than many novels. Writing with skill and insight, he describes how his encounters with patients in the cancer ward and emergency room helped an uncertain student to grow, both as a medical practitioner and a human being. He learns the bitter lesson that sometimes all a doctor can do is help a patient die comfortably. When he attends a family dinner near the end of his term, Klitzman discovers that his relatives perceive him differently: He has ceased to be "Bob" and has become a doctor and an authority figure. Klitzman emerges as the kind of dedicated, caring physician people still hope to find in an era when medicine is increasingly dominated by specialization, sophisticated technology and the threat of malpractice suits.

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