Book Review: You What?! by John Chase, MD

Did you ever wonder what it is like to be a medical doctor, especially a surgeon?
John Chase MD pulls back the curtain (like Toto in the Wizard of Oz) on what your doctor encounters in the practice of medicine and orthopaedic surgery.
How they choose a practice to join. The challenges they see on a daily basis. The crazy things patients say and do (“You What?!”) What it’s like in an operating room.
Insight that is easy to read for those with no medical background. Stories you will laugh at if you do have a medical background.
A fun book with perhaps a few life lessons learned in a 35 year Orthopaedic surgery career.

My Review

As a retired RN who worked on an orthopaedic floor years ago, I really enjoyed You What? The way it is worded, it is written mostly with medical students in mind, but anyone will enjoy the stories. It has advice for doctors from starting practice to seeing patients to surgery.

So many doctors have a poor bedside manner, and I’d never thought about why, but the reason for that is in this book: doctors spend so much time studying that they don’t have time to go to social events, so they don’t develop social skills.

You What? is divided into three parts. This first part is titled “Your Practice,” and it contains a lot of funny patient stories, good advice for doctors but some that is good for anyone, and sweet stories about patients.

One thing that tickled me was the crazy things people say they’re allergic to including “everything.” Or the patient who left because they didn’t want to be weighed. I always complain when they weigh me but walk out? I never even considered that!

A lot of the advice given for doctors is good advice for everyone. For example, I’m a big proponent of smiling. It can not only make a doctor’s visit better, but it can also make any interaction better. Having to wear masks has made me aware of how much I smile at others and how much I miss bringing a smile to others’ faces just with a smile.

The second part is titled “Your Rewards,” and it’s obvious that Dr. Chase appreciates the connections he made with others, especially the good friends he made because of his practice. There are many other benefits he has listed, but the one that touched me was a mission trip that he went on. He met a boy there whose life was transformed because of the doctor taking an interest in his case.

The last section is titled “Your Life” and is mostly for those going into the medical field. Again, a lot of the advice is good for anyone. He talks about a parenting fail when he took his young daughter to a Sugar Ray concert. I felt, however, that it ended up being a parenting success because he made them leave after the first song.

According to Dr. Chase:

“The secret to having a great life (inside or outside of medicine) is to remember to do three things:

1. Be conscientious and responsible. Take good care of your patients.

2. Treat people decently. Take good care of people, most especially your family.

3. Enjoy yourself along the way. Take good care of yourself.

Do the things that will make you a success based on your own criteria, not somebody else’s.”

Perfect advice!

About the Author

John Chase is an Orthopaedic surgeon who, with recent retirement, found himself with time and information about the practice of medicine he wanted to pass along. Orthopaedic Residency at the University of Florida began his academic and surgical preparation for a career in Orthopaedic surgery.