The House of God - Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Samuel Shem
This Study Guide consists of approximately 36 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The House of God.
This section contains 476 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)

Chapter 3 Summary

The reader is introduced to the Fat Man, a second year resident with a bawdy view of medicine. He introduces Roy to gomers. Roy enters his first rotation on Ward 6-South. He meets the Fat Man, an intern named Wayne Potts, Chuck and three BMS students, which stands for Best Medical School students, who are also on this rotation with him. The Fat Man is talking about his new invention. He explains that gomer stands for "Get out of My Emergency Room".

There are three interns, including Roy and they use flip cards to round on the patients. During this, they meet Dr. Otto Kreinberg, "Little Otto", another one of the private doctors who isn't supposed to write on patients' orders but does so anyway because he hates interns. He meets his patients and begins to panic at the zoo-like atmosphere he's faced with. Roy meets Sophie, one of his patients and asks Fats what to do for her. He meets Mr. Rotanski, a stroke victim and a gomer. He learns Law Number One: "Gomers don't die". He learns that it's the young people who die, not the gomers.

Finally, he meets Ina Goober, another gomer with green, scumlike material under her breast. He learns from Fats that Law Number 2 is that "Gomers go to ground," meaning that they fall out of bed. He learns about the "Double O Privates"—expensive private doctors who are bad but have good bedside manner so they never get sued. Roy writes his first orders and gets nervous about killing the patient; he puts in his first IV.

They do a cardiac arrest on a patient named Leo and Roy learns Law Number Three: "At a cardiac arrest, the first procedure is to take your own pulse." He meets Molly—a nurse on the ward that he lusts after. Finally, he meets the Yellow Man, a man with liver disease who his fellow intern Potts is afraid to give steroids to make him better. He realizes that this isn't medicine—certainly not the type he signed up for.

Chapter 3 Analysis

Dr. Roy Basch is getting a taste of what medicine is all about at the House of God, all in one day. He learns about the real world of the gomers and about the stress of everyday living in the House of God. He makes it through the first day but he's nervous and he is afraid to write even the simplest of prescriptions. He's overwhelmed and a bit shell-shocked, as are his fellow interns. He leans on the Fat Man and his "Laws" in order to survive. In one day, he's already learned a lot. He's beginning to make his way around his ward and to understand his duties. There is some sexual tension between Roy and the nurse named Molly.

This section contains 476 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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