Hospital: Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity, Plus Red Tape, Bad Behavior, Money, God, and Diversity on Steroids
A fact of life is that one day, you or a loved one will be a patient in a hospital. When you walk through that door, you will enter a world where bureaucracy, miscommunication, budgets, politics, personalities, and religion can influence the medical attention you receive as much as seeing a doctor. The story of how hospitals actually run has never been tolduntil nowfrom the vantage point of the people who work inside. Bestselling author and award-winning journalist Julie Salamon follows a year in the life New Yorks Maimonides Medical Center, painting a revealing portrait of how big medicine operates today in Hospital: Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity, Plus Red Tape, Bad Behavior, Money, God and Diversity on Steroids. Noted for casting surprising new light on subjects we think we know, Salamon (author of The Devils Candy, Facing the Wind, and Rambams Ladder) was granted an astonishing warts and all level of access by the hospital. She followed doctors, patients, administrators, nurses, ambulance drivers, cooks and cleaning staff. The resulting narrative is not unlike a novel, with a richly detailed cast of characters: There are bitter internal feuds, warm personal connections, comedy, egoism, greed, love and loss. There are rabbinic edicts to contend with, as well as imams and herbalists and local politicians. There are systems foul-ups that keep blood test results from being delivered on time, compulsive bosses, careless record-keepers, shortages of everything except forms to fill, recalcitrant and greedy insurance reimbursement systems, and the unsettling difficulty of getting doctors to wash their hands. Located in a community where 67 different languages are spoken, Maimonides is a case study for the particular kinds of concerns that arise in institutions that serve an increasingly multicultural American demographic. How do the essential requirements of medicinetending the sickplay out against the competing
Awesome Book, Read it One Sitting
By M. Warshawsky - May 19, 2008
Ok so maybe I am a little biased because I actually work at the hospital where this book was conceived and written. Seriously though, Ms. Salamon has has manged somehow to give an overview of Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn that is both accurate and wonderfully descriptive. She has succesfully captured the flavour of Brooklyn and Maimonides in an entertaining yet authentic way. This is not one of those PR stunts to try make Maimonides famous and rich, rather it is a soul searching account of the most horrendous and uplifting experiences that go hand in hand when an urban hospital meets multiple cultures.
At the end of the day it is a book about human emotions and human deficiencies. Ego and humility, arrogance and compassion mixed with a healthy dose of back stabbing and genuine love for humanity.
A powerful case study of our baffling health care system
By A. Harmon - May 24, 2008
That Maimonides Medical Center granted this writer such unfettered access to the institution is indeed astonishing, and Salamon does not squander the opportunity. What she finds is a health care pressure cooker: Ludicrous insurance protocols, cultural divides among patients and an exhausted staff prone to ego and petty feuds, and sometimes profound compassion.
But General Hospital melodrama the book is not. What I found instead was an illuminating portrayal of our broken health care system, without the gross oversimplification that presidential political campaigns are apt to use in endless sound bytes.
Salamon's prose is at its best when she documents the experience of Maimonides cancer patients--real people in pain, often lacking insurance and citizenship, praying for miracles and avoiding the awful truth as best they can. Salamon thankfully avoids turning these tragic stories into overwrought narrative thread. Her voice is simple and frank, and therefore... read more
Send Me the Sequel
By C. B. Terrigno - May 27, 2008
I purchased this book for my children to give to their father on Father's Day. He trained at Maimonides when we were newlyweds and I thought he would enjoy receiving it from his sons who were born there in Brooklyn. I began to glance through it and I was compelled to cancel my appointments and read it completely. Wow, the memories came flooding back to me. In the early and mid eighties, we spent a great deal of time interacting with a group of people who were foreign to me in both physical and spiritual identity. The Orthodox Jewish community provides an integral part of her story and it is fascinating. Like the author, I am from Ohio. But, unlike Ms Salamon, I had no idea who Maimonides was and why would he have a hospital in Brooklyn named for him? It was a life-altering experience for me to learn the differences between various New York cultures and and this is the insight Ms Salamon provides throughout this book. The reader becomes enthralled with the... read more
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