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Dr. Matt McCarthy

Bestselling author of Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic and Associate Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine

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The looming superbug crisis: Politics, profit, and Big Pharma | Matt McCarthy | Big Think
  • About Matt McCarthy

    Dr. Matt McCarthy is an associate professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and a staff physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where he serves on the Ethics Committee. Since March 2020, he has been on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, treating hundreds of COVID-19 patients. As an expert in superbugs, he has appeared on media and at congressional briefings with lawmakers to provide his medical knowledge on the virus. He also has been giving monthly COVID-19 updates to top corporations, healthcare facilities and institutions based across the country. A compelling and informative speaker, Dr. McCarthy provides invaluable insight into the most current coronavirus developments, gives an overview of available COVID-19 vaccines, and explains what to expect in the months ahead as the pandemic evolves.

    Dr. McCarthy is also a researcher and a bestselling author. The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly is a funny, candid memoir of his intern year at a New York hospital. He provides a frank look at how doctors are made, taking readers into patients’ rooms and doctors’ conferences to witness a physician’s journey from ineptitude to competence. In his latest book Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic, which was named a USA Today “Book Not to Miss,” Dr. McCarthy offers a riveting look into the world of bacteria and antibiotics, and the race to find a cure for antibiotic-resistant infections known as superbugs. He provides useful information about the latest scientific advances in microbial research and an insider’s account into a clinical trial testing a new antibiotic to fight lethal bacteria that have built up resistance to the life-saving drugs in our rapidly dwindling arsenal.

    Dr. McCarthy graduated from Harvard Medical School and went on to complete his internal medicine residency at Columbia University Medical Center. Before that, Dr. McCarthy graduated from Yale University with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry.

  • Speaking Topics

    Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic

    In this informative and riveting lecture, Dr. Matt McCarthy talks about one of the most important issues in modern medicine: The growing and global threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria – a leading cause of deadly infections in humans. He explores the history of bacteria and antibiotics, from Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin to the golden age of antibiotic development in the 1950s, and explains obscure sources of innovative new medicines (often found in soil samples), as well as the cutting-edge DNA manipulation known as CRISPR. Speaking to top corporations, healthcare facilities and institutions across the country, Dr. Matt McCarthy brings to light how we arrived at this juncture of both incredible breakthrough and extreme vulnerability.

    COVID-19 Updates, Treatments, and Vaccines

    As one of the first COVID-19 attending physicians, Dr. Matt McCarthy has been developing best practices and clinical protocols for frontline clinicians, caring for critically ill COVID-19 patients, and finding successful, life-saving treatments for this devastating pandemic. In this vital and informative talk, Dr. McCarthy provides the most current coronavirus updates, explains the vaccine information, and speaks on what we can learn for future responses to viral outbreaks.

  • Video

  • Praise for Matt McCarthy

    Praise for Superbugs

    Written from the front lines in the battle against resistant microbes, Superbugs will educate and inspire all those concerned about the growing threat to individuals and society. McCarthy offers a fast paced, vivid narrative that grips the reader from the opening pages and never lets go.

    Jerome Groopman, MD; Recanati Professor, Harvard Medical School; co-author of New York Times bestseller Your Medical Mind

    There might not be another author who so fluidly combines a world-class doctor and researcher’s knowledge and experience with a memoirist’s sensibility. Matt McCarthy is Siddhartha Mukherjee and David Sedaris rolled into one. Who else but McCarthy could write a dispatch from the front lines of the secret fight for the future of the human race that is not just gripping and illuminating, but also poignant and funny?

    Ben Reiter, New York Times bestselling author of Astroball

    Superbugs is a riveting look into the world of bacteria and antibiotics. Dr. Matt McCarthy offers a compulsively readable tour through infectious disease. With his characteristic humor and warmth, Dr. McCarthy humanizes a fascinating and timely topic that has resonance for us all. In a voice that is thoughtful and honest, punctuated by sharp wit, he reveals the drugs and dilemmas that will impact humanity for years to come. This is a rare and important book.

    Daniela Lamas, author of You Can Stop Humming Now

    A riveting insider’s look at the race to find a cure for antibiotic-resistant infections, one of the most pressing challenges in modern medicine…. The author’s storytelling is at once urgent and empathetic, a compelling combination that leaves readers feeling informed and optimistic. Insightful and honest, McCarthy effectively combines useful information about the latest advances in microbial research with accounts of the best aspects of humanity.

    Kirkus

    A perfect work of popular science. Like Atul Gawande, Matt McCarthy has the magical ability to transmit deeply technical knowledge in a way that makes the reader feel like part of a high-level professional conversation; like Michael Lewis, a gift for the place where big ideas overlap; like Elizabeth Kolbert, a sense of narrative urgency about the state of the present world that makes anything outside its pages seem trivial. Magnificent.

    Charles Finch, winner of National Book Critics Circle Award, Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing

    McCarthy gives an insider’s look at the history of antibiotics and the urgent fight against deadly, drug-resistant bacteria.

    People

    In his new book, Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic, Dr. McCarthy offers a glimmer of hope: a new way to both cure and prevent future superbug infections with a single treatment.

    Christian Broadcasting Network

    Fascinating.

    WNYC’s All of It with Alison Stewart

    McCarthy weaves the history of the life-saving drugs into a suspenseful account of his own role in a groundbreaking clinical trial.

    The Boston Globe Magazine

    It may sound like another sci-fi superhero movie, but physician and author Matt McCarthy warns that the topic of lethal bacteria is not to be taken lightly…McCarthy explains how these pathogens have built up a resistance to our current arsenal of antibiotics.
     

    NPR All Things Considered

    Cutting-edge science.

    Twin Cities Pioneer Press

    Sheds a lot of light on an issue that should be in the public consciousness.

    SF Gate

    Praise for The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly

    It’s an account so engaging that I went from swearing never to let an intern near me to understanding exactly why the doctor-training process works the way it does.

    Entertainment Weekly

    McCarthy gives readers a brutally honest, often darkly comical glimpse into the formative days of his medical career…an enthralling account of the metamorphosis of an uncertain medical resident into a skilled physician.

    Discover

    [This] rousing memoir describes [a] tumultuous year of medical internship at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, a 12-month marathon noteworthy for a steep learning curve, emotional extremes, and chronic sleep deprivation…A genuine glimpse at the making of a doctor.

    Booklist

    This story is a year in the life of an almost-doctor, but it is so much more than that. It’s a book about mentorship, compassion, pride, and the insecurity of learning the most important lessons in your career—and in your life—long after those lessons were supposed to be taught. It’s about the precarious and often unclear boundary between life and death, and those tasked with maintaining this boundary, even at the end of a thirty-hour shift.  Perhaps above all, it’s about decent people doing a very hard, decent thing with their lives. Yes, doctors are people too—and McCarthy tempers and then transcends the unease of such a reminder by telling his story with much humor, and even more heart.

    Jeff Hobbs, author of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

    Fascinating, funny and spot on. Like my own internship – only with a laugh track. A must read for anyone who’s going to be a doctor, or just going to see one.

    Lisa Sanders, MD, New York Times Magazine’s “Diagnosis” columnist and author of Every Patient Tells A Story

    McCarthy’s tale is by turns harrowing, hilarious, and uplifting. Whether you’re deciding if you should become a doctor, or merely if you should go see one, this look beneath the hospital gown will change your perspective for good.

    David Epstein, author of The Sports Gene

    Thanks to Dr. Matt’s column, I know why tennis players grunt, and why five-finger shoes are for morons, and why I should have gotten a vasectomy during March Madness.  And thanks to this book, I now know how he became the kind of doctor that I feel comfortable going to with stupid drunken questions.

    Drew Magary, author of The Postmortal and Someone Could Get Hurt  

    Hilarious, horrifying and ultimately inspiring, The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly is a hallucinogenic trip through a doctor’s first year, filled with ill-fated pin pricks, misdiagnosis, disappearing patients, life and, inevitably, death. Beautifully written and impossible to put down, here is the unvarnished look at how we create the flawed and ultimately heroic human beings who save our lives—and sometimes don’t.

    Steve Fainaru, co-author of League of Denial

    Everything you did—or maybe didn’t—want to know about becoming a doctor. Matt McCarthy’s tale of internship is equal parts entertaining, cringeworthy, and inspiring.

    Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, author of What Doctors Feel

    Matt McCarthy’s new book, The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly, is an honest, beautiful, and terrifying look at what goes into creating a doctor. Filled with very human characters, both doctors and patients alike, Matt’s well paced writing makes it easy to imagine yourself in the shoes of a brand new intern, nervous and afraid, yet still tasked with literal life and death decisions. I would recommend this book to anyone who knows or has been treated by a doctor (so basically everyone).

    Chris Kluwe, author of Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies

    Well-written and brutally honest, Dr. McCarthy’s engrossing memoir of his internship year is told with uncommon frankness and perception. The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly is one of the most powerful books about a doctor-in-training I have ever read. The author vividly describes the crushing emotional and physical demands a young doctor must face, and he does so with consummate skill and compassion. A marvelous book.

    Michael Collins, author of Blue Collar, Blue Scrubs

    I’m no doctor—but I am writer—and what I appreciated most about Matt McCarthy’s book is the humor and the humanity on every page. Even if you don’t know the spleen from the stomach, by the end you will understand the sometimes frightening and sometimes comic reality of a doctor’s apprenticeship.

    Jack McCallum, author of Dream Team

    Insightful, fast-paced and achingly honest, Matt McCarthy’s >The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly has all the elements of a great story: a flawed hero with lively allies battling frequent, seemingly insurmountable obstacles to reach a laudable goal – becoming a good doctor.

    Louise Aronson, author of A History of the Present Illness
  • Books by Matt McCarthy

  • Media About Matt McCarthy

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