Medicine in Media: A Young Doctor’s Notebook

DVD cover A Young Doctor’s Notebook is a dark comedy based on the short stories of Russian author, playwright, and physician Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940). The story follows a newly graduated physician, played by Daniel Radcliffe, assigned to be the sole physician in a small hospital in an extremely remote village. The doctor’s older self, played by John Hamm narrates the young man’s struggle to deal with the realities of his new career: uneducated,superstitious, and sometimes violent patients; limited resources; the skeptical , jaded hospital staff; his highly regarded predecessor; the isolation of a Russian winter, and his own inexperience. The story  deals with the young man’s coming of age, the history of medicine, Russian history,  medical ethics, and drug addiction as it shifts from the now of the fledgling doctor writing in his notebook in 1917, to the now of  his older self, reading the notebook in 1934. The older man frequently enters his younger self’s reality, offering advice and criticism—both unwanted.

The first four episodes of A Young Doctor’s Notebook’s  aired on the Sky Arts channel in the U.K in 2012, with another four episodes filmed in 2013. The first season debuted  in the U.S. on the Ovation Network in October 2013, and the second season has not yet aired here.  The first season can be viewed through Amazon Instant Video and on DVD, but the second season is not yet available.

[Emily Epstein, Cataloging Librarian]