Famous Short Stories with a Doctor as the Main Character or Protagonist

The District Doctor by Ivan S. Turgenev (1852) - This is a story from A Sportman's Sketches, a collection of short stories by Turgenev published in 1852. This is a realistic tale that explores a variety of themes: lying, doctor-patient relationships, sexual desire, love, and marriage. It forces the reader to ask himself or herself intriguing questions. If he/she is on the shoes of the doctor, would he/she make the same moral decisions he made? The two main characters in the story are the doctor and a sick stranger. The stranger in the story is a stand-in for the reader. The doctor confessing in the story is tantamount to the doctor confessing to the reader.

A Country Doctor by Franz Kafka (1917) - Such as the norm in most of Kafka's work, A Country Doctor is a story rife with absurd and dream-like events. The doctor in the story faces surreal predicaments that have the reader questioning if he's reading a tale grounded on reality or a tale that is merely a narration of a dream. The scholar Louis H. Leiter saw the story as an argument for existentialism. The story was adapted into a short anime film by Koji Yamamura in 2007.

The Use of Force by William Carlos Williams (1938) - This is without a doubt Williams's most popular short story. It first appeared in Life Along the Passaic River, a short story collection by Williams that was published in 1938. The story was also included in The Doctor Stories, another collection of Williams's stories published in 1984. The Use of Force is a very short story. It's about 3-4 pages long. It's about a rural physician called upon to check on a sick girl at a farmhouse. As the title of the story suggests, the good doctor had to resort to force to examine the girl and come up with a proper medical diagnosis. 

The Way We Live Now by Susan Sontag (1986) - Sontag borrowed the title of her story from a novel of the same name by Anthony Trollope that was published in 1875. The story first appeared in a November1986 issue of The New Yorker magazine. The story was selected for the collection The Best American Short Stories of 1987. It was further included in the collection The Best American Short Stories of the Eighties. The story is well-known and often studied and analyzed in the literary community for its experimental narrative style.