As Real as It Gets: The Life of a Hospital at the Center of the AIDS Epidemic

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Encapsulating the AIDS crisis in a profile of San Francisco's General Hospital, recognized globally since 1981 as a pioneer in the research and treatment of the disease, former San Francisco Examiner reporter and columnist Pogash tells an engrossing story through the voices of the hospital's physicians and other health care workers. She captures the excitement of advanced, often highly experimental lab research, including the nation's most extensive drug testing, and she records the financial, political, religious and societal obstacles encountered by the hospital's expanding AIDS program, among them a protracted national debate on the extent of physicians' responsibilities and the best means of safeguarding hospital workers against AIDS. Pogash vigorously marshals facts to support her argument that the disease strikes with little partiality to the sufferer's age, gender, race, social or economic status. Her vivid account of the medical and human dimensions of the AIDS crisis movingly depicts ``the outpouring of love mingled with death.'' (Nov.)
Library Journal
``There is not a drama inherent to the AIDS epidemic that has not been acted out in San Francisco General Hospital,'' writes Randy Shilts ( And the Band Played On , LJ 11/15/87) in his laudatory foreword to this book. Pogash's title comes from a T-shirt sported by the hospital's emergency room staff. By presenting the compelling cast of characters who people the halls of this hospital, she chronicles how ``the finest example of humanized care for patients of the AIDS epidemic''--what is called the San Francisco model--came to be. It's an exciting cram course about an invidious disease and about politics and human behavior. The human dimensions of the AIDS epidemic, ``the most important medical story of the century,'' grip the reader who comes to know the hospital's doctors, nurses, and patients in a remarkable book that Shilts calls ``an invaluable document, a record of all that was human in our response to this troubled time.'' Highly recommended.-- James Swanton, Albert Einstein Coll. of Medicine, New York
William Beatty
In this report from the AIDS front lines, the hospital is San Francisco General and the protagonists are Jane Doe, the nurse who caught AIDS from a needle prick and fought the city for several years over anonymity and reimbursement; Paul Volberding, the understanding clinician who developed pioneering programs for AIDS patients later copied throughout the country; Lorraine Day, the orthopedic surgeon who felt that surgical patients should be tested for AIDS before she operated and that the disease should be treated as a public health problem rather than a political one; and Michael McGrath, who researched the Chinese compound Q, a potential treatment for AIDS. The story is lively, with characters who are individuals rather than stick figures. Unfortunately, it is also repetitious and long. Pogash does, however, successfully demonstrate what it is like to have AIDS and how, step-by-step, the disease progresses, as she also memorably conjures the altruistic philosophy and the human fears of caregivers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559721271
  • Publisher: Carol Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/1/1992
  • Pages: 255
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.27 (h) x 1.08 (d)

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