When he’s not busy writing a best seller or hosting his popular radio show, Billy Goldberg, MD, can be found at the NYU Langone Medical Center or Bellevue Hospital Center where he’s a practicing emergency physician and director of strategic planning and finance in the department of emergency medicine. Either that or he’s caring for his three kids, the youngest of whom Dr. Goldberg and his wife welcomed into the world this August. “Maybe I’ll have a nap in 2014,” he laughs.
A painter, Dr. Goldberg briefly considered a career as an artist. But his practical side took over and he chose to become a doctor, and his creative side discovered a new outlet — writing. Dr. Goldberg and writing partner Mark Leyner have penned three books that offer factual and funny answers to questions we all wonder about when it comes to our bodies.
The humor, Dr. Goldberg says, is his creative escape from what he sees and does in the ER. “It’s not like people come in to the ER and say, ‘We’re having a great day.’ You see a lot of bad stuff,” he explains. “This is another side of my personality and a fantastic outlet.”
Dr. Goldberg’s and Leyner’s latest book, Let’s Play Doctor: The Instant Guide to Walking, Talking, and Probing Like a Real M.D. (2008), is described by Random House as an instant guide to becoming a “real fake doctor.” Basically, it helps the layperson navigate the world of medicine — including medical lingo.
In addition to the books, Dr. Gold-berg hosts a weekly call-in show on SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio’s Doctor Radio channel. The “Emergency Room Medicine” show, which airs every Thursday from 8 to 10 a.m. (Eastern time), offers a firsthand look at life in the ER and tackles emergency medicine issues affecting patients.
While the station is serious in its approach to medical issues, Dr. Goldberg keeps his show light. “When people are comfortable they tell you more,” he says. And in the ER, that can be helpful.
Dr. Goldberg sees a lot of overlap between what he calls “the art of medicine” and the arts. How do his colleagues react to this edutainment? “Well,” he says, “my chairman found out by seeing me on the Today Show. I thought I’d be the laughing stock of the hospital, but people really seemed to like the books and took pleasure in someone doing something different.”