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Hospital: Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity, Plus Red Tape, Bad Behavior, Money, God andDiversity on Steroids
     

Hospital: Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity, Plus Red Tape, Bad Behavior, Money, God andDiversity on Steroids

4.2 25
by Julie Salamon
 

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A bestselling author and award winning journalist follows a year in the life of a big urban hospital, painting a revealing portrait of how medical care is delivered in America today

Most people agree that there are complicated issues at play in the delivery of health care today, but those issues may not always be what we think they are. In 2005, Maimonides

Overview

A bestselling author and award winning journalist follows a year in the life of a big urban hospital, painting a revealing portrait of how medical care is delivered in America today

Most people agree that there are complicated issues at play in the delivery of health care today, but those issues may not always be what we think they are. In 2005, Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, unveiled a new state-of-theart, multimillion-dollar cancer center. Determined to understand the whole spectrum of factors that determine what kind of medical care people receive in this country, bestselling author Julie Salamon spent one year tracking the progress of the center and getting to know the characters who make the hospital run. Located in a community where sixty-seven 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. Granted an astonishing "warts and all" level of access by the hospital higher-ups, Salamon followed the doctors, patients, administrators, nurses, ambulance drivers, cooks, and cleaning staff. She explored not just the action on the ground—what happens between doctors and patients—but also the financial, ethical, technological, sociological, and cultural matters that the hospital community encounters every day.

Drawing on her skills as interviewer, observer, and social critic, Salamon presents the story of modern medicine, uniquely viewed from the vantage point of those who make it run. She draws out the internal and external political machinations that exist between doctors and staff as well as between hospital and community.And she grounds the science and emotion of medical drama in the financial realities of operating a huge, private institution that must contend with issues like adapting to the specific needs of immigrant groups that make up a large and growing portion of our society.

Salamon exposes struggles of both the profound and humdrum variety. 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 system foul-ups that keep blood test results from being delivered on time, careless record keepers, shortages of everything except forms to fill, recalcitrant and greedy insurance reimbursement systems, and the surprising difficulty of getting doctors to wash their hands.

This is the dynamic universe of small and large concerns and personalities that, taken together, determine the nature of our care and assume the utmost importance. As Martin Payson—chairman of the board at Maimonides and ex-Time-Warner vice chairman—puts it: "Hospitals have a lot in common with the movie business. You've got your talent, entrepreneurs, ambition, ego stroking, the business versus the creative part. The big difference is that in the hospital you don't get second takes. Movies are make-believe. This is real life."

Editorial Reviews

Consider this book a full-immersion experiment. Instead of examining health care from afar, investigative journalist Julie Salamon spent one-year tracking activities at Brooklyn's Maimonides Hospital, which has the only cancer center in a borough of 2.5 million people. What she discovered there was more complicated and less formulaic than any politician's nostrums. (For instance, how can one hospital effectively respond to the health needs of a community where 67 different languages are spoken?) Salamon's Hospital has all the drama of ER or House, with even more human complexity. That shouldn't surprise us: As Maimonides' chairman of the board noted, "Hospitals have a lot in common with the movie business. You've got your talent, entrepreneurs, ambition, ego stroking, the business versus the creative part. The big difference is that in the hospital you don't get second chances. Movies are make-believe. This is real life."
Abigail Zuger
…journalists are inexorably drawn to hospitals, moths to the flame of all the great stories lurking inside (or flies on the wall to deliver that full "you are there" experience). All these eyewitness accounts are flawed to a greater or lesser degree, and Julie Salamon's energetic Hospital is no exception. But her scope is more ambitious than most, and even the book's problems wind up telling the astute reader a great deal about these troubled modern institutions.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

In this remarkable portrait of the doctors and administrators at Brooklyn's Maimonides Medical Center, bestselling author Salamon (The Devil's Candy; The Christmas Tree) illustrates the complex machine that is the modern hospital, vying to provide cutting-edge facilities and compassionate care, while making money doing it. Salamon compares Maimonides to a factory, where medicine is "industrialized," streamlined for efficiency and as dependent on skilled administrators as on talented physicians. Located in a Brooklyn neighborhood known for its simmering mix of ethnicities and cultures, particularly its influential ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, Maimonides is insanely busy, with perhaps the most densely packed emergency room of its size. A new resident in obstetrics learns to "count to ten and say 'push' in Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, and at least two other languages that I'm not sure what they were." Administrators juggle budgets, politics and feuding staff while insurance paperwork increases mistakes and steals treatment time. Although it's "hard to deconstruct the Tower of Babel when you're standing in the middle of it," Salamon succeeds in providing a completely unique, three-dimensional and compellingly human perspective of the demanding work-both frustrating and rewarding-that is not always apparent to hospital patients and their families. (May 19)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
A portrait of Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., that, like the hospital's own emergency room, is overflowing and overextended. Salamon (Rambam's Ladder: A Meditation on Generosity and Why It Is Necessary to Give, 2003, etc.) was permitted to roam Maimonides from waiting room to executive office in 2005 and 2006. Armed with a tape recorder and notebook, she talked to the chairman of the board, doctors, nurses, social workers, patients and members of the community involved in the hospital's affairs. Woven into her wide-ranging account of the financial, ethical, scientific and sociological factors that shape a big metropolitan hospital's operations are dozens of revealing profiles (most notably of president and CEO Pam Brier); her front-of-the-book cast of characters lists nearly 70 names. Salamon calls Maimonides "a petri dish of the post 9/11 world," an apt description for a hospital founded to serve a community of Orthodox Jews in a neighborhood rapidly filling with immigrants from all over the world. Cultural conflicts are ever-present, as are those caused by human ego and ambition. The author recounts racial and religious prejudices that affect patient care, personality clashes and turf wars between doctors. Patients come and go, live or die, and fights with insurance companies are won or lost. Adding color but cluttering up her canvas are myriad irrelevant details from the administrative and professional staff's lives and social and professional relationships. Readers learn not only who said what to whom at a staff meeting, but who wore what to whose funeral. Excerpts from the author's daily log also pad this meandering account. However, some frank and chatty e-mails from anew emergency-room resident, a Midwesterner trying to adjust to the big-city life and work in a huge urban hospital, provide a welcome additional perspective. Ambitious, unwieldy and unfocused.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594201714
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/15/2008
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.44(w) x 9.42(h) x 1.23(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

"Salamon goes beyond the sharp conflicts of ego, culture, and competition in a hospital and finds a community still rooted in compassion and caring. A unique and revealing book that captures the tensions and triumphs of today's medicine."
—Dr. Jerome Groopman, author of How Doctors Think

"Julie Salamon is simply one of our best writers. Her keen reportorial eye, her vivid and assured prose, and most of all, the tremendous compassion she shows for the people in her story, are on full display in Hospital. Here is an institution at the crossroads of humanity, into which Salomon inserted herself for a full year, capturing personal details of remarkable intimacy as well as the sweep of a great story."
—James B. Stewart, author of Den of Thieves

"There's 'ER,' there's 'Grey's Anatomy,' and then there's this real, true-life drama of the barely controllable chaos that actually rules in a huge metropolitan hospital, by one of America's best fly-on-the-wall reporters, Julie Salamon."
—Tom Wolfe, author of I Am Charlotte Simmons

Meet the Author

Julie Salamon is the author of several award-winning books for adults, including Wendy and the Lost Boys, as well as her debut novel for children,Cat in the City.Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and more. She lives in Manhattan with her family.

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Hospital: Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity, Plus Red Tape, Bad Behavior, Money, God and Diversity on Steroids 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kase!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Runs in. "Kase!?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*he lies in a a bed* Don't let me die. Please.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I walk in, waiting for Marcus.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(Whats the name of the book))
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Says yes a question how or i mean what happened to lauren why is she hear
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lays unconcious and unresponsive
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
?...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Halley can we talk for a sec
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Okay, we're going." She says, taking him to his house.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yawns. "Can we go now? I want to go home.." he murmurs drowsily.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*a few hour later, the surgery is done* *she wakes up and opens her eyes* *she SEES!* "Can you see?" One of the doctors asked. "Yes!!! " she cried.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THIS IS ASHLEYS SISTER, SHE HURT HERSELF. TELL ME WHA HAPPENE AT YOUR GUYS BOOK
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sits in the waiting room, holding her head in her hands.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Took out her IV and sneaks back to school.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go to sophia seventh result and see for urself that ses fine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As hard as I try I can't get through this book. I'm not sure if it's the size 8 font that makes me tired every time I read it or the jumping around in regards to the characters. Either way, I'm done trying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AbisMom More than 1 year ago
I spent two days reading the Hospital and was blown away by this amazing institution. I even sent them a thank you note today. It will make you see the hospital system in a new light.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book because I was intrigued by part of the title, 'Diversity on steroids.' I began reading about the daily events and unique personalities that make up Brooklyn Maimonides Hospital. Simply put, I couldn't put it down. Salamon is a gifted writer who is able to brilliantly descibe the enigmatic individuals that contribute to the success of this unique community. From the 27 year old Nebraska intern, who rides the subway with his surfboard to 'catch a wave,' to the brilliant and complicated Pam Brier, president of Maimonides, one immediately gets the sense that the diversity in the staff more than matches the heterogenous community it serves. Upon finishing this book, the reader is struck by the raw compassion,commitment, and intelligence that drive this unusual institution. It was a terrific read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reading this story made me feel better aware and capable of understanding how Right and Wrong and Kindness and Rightfulness are being redefined in our daily lives. Playing out in a hospital setting makes it fascinating because so many world-ish issues are brought into close proximity and gives the reader a compelling place to see ourselves and others more deeply than the surfaces scratched in less intense workplaces. The drama of personalities, politics, histrionic ethnic backgrounding and stereotyping, Love and Fear, good and evil behaviors like this may only play out as powerfully in stories about life and death in wars. Salamon is artful in revealing the multi-faceted, multi-tasked personalities of the people here. More quality and less quantity is refreshing when reading about patients and people. I felt humbled and connected to these people as they struggle to behave well under pressure to achieve what's necessary for existing in a culture fraught with frustrating differences of intelligence, ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic and professional inequalities. It's not easy to know what's most appropriate and true to ourselves whether cooking for minimum wage or doing risky surgery for six-figures. The people and issues in 'Hospital' changed my thinking about the possibilities and difficulties we face as old-school and modernized people in 21st century America and Planet Earth. Take your time and Read This Book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Almost all the patients on Grey's Anatomy speak English. But that's hardly true in the real world of big city hospitals. How this hospital adapts - to its past, present and future - would warrant yet another look, a year from now, by this talented author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms. Salamon is about as accurate about the culture, patients and employees at Maimonides as it gets. As a former employee who knows many of the characters in her book, I was surprised by the remarkable truth Ms. Salamon exhibited through her writing in Hospital. Like it or not, it's so accurate I am deeply shocked that Pam Brier would have ever thought to allow a writer unlimited access to Maimo for a year. Then again, knowing Ms. Brier, her ego got the better of her. Kudos to Ms. Salamon for holding almost nothing back. This is life in an outer-borough hospital, folks.