Hospital: An Oral History of Cook County Hospital

Hospital: An Oral History of Cook County Hospital

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by Sydney Lewis, Lewis
     
 

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Hospital brings together the voices of the doctors, nurses, housekeepers, clerks, administrators, elevator operators, activists, pacifists, hispanics, blacks, whites, old, and young that make up Cook County Hospital. Sydney Lewis, former assistant to the Pulitzer Prize-winning oral historian Studs Terkel, documented the experiences of the hard-working individuals who

Overview

Hospital brings together the voices of the doctors, nurses, housekeepers, clerks, administrators, elevator operators, activists, pacifists, hispanics, blacks, whites, old, and young that make up Cook County Hospital. Sydney Lewis, former assistant to the Pulitzer Prize-winning oral historian Studs Terkel, documented the experiences of the hard-working individuals who bring health care to those who cannot afford it and who need it the most.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
These brief, first-person narratives by physicians and other, often international, staff members of Chicago's venerable, 87-year-old Cook County Hospital are recorded and introduced by freelance writer Lewis, a former assistant to Studs Terkel. Eloquently, she demonstrates how needs overwhelm capacity in America's large public hospitals, which ``have become, in effect, a national health care system.'' In emergency, interns and residents practice ``battlefield medicine,'' caring for the mostly minority victims of violence, accidents and social deprivation, with patients serving as ``teaching materials.'' Most of the medical-service employees and patients depicted, from the head of the Pediatrics Trauma Center to a female security guard, share the same dedication to County and yearn for health care reform. A gripping report from the trenches, this is the author's debut book. (Jan.)
Library Journal
For this oral history, Lewis, a longtime assistant to Studs Terkel, has collected interviews of 62 doctors, administrators, former patients, and staff members at all levels of Chicago's only public hospital. An 80-year-old "medical museum" with a reputation for innovative programming, Cook County Hospital has over 6000 employees and a clientele drawn from Chicago's poorest and most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Stories of egregious political corruption and neglect, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, and heartrending contemporary tragedies of urban violence and child abuse are balanced with other anecdotes of devotion and heroism. Despite its almost battlefield conditions, "County" clearly attracts the loyalty of remarkable people who are energized by the opportunity to make a difference in one of the country's most challenging medical environments. This book both honors these individuals and critiques the healthcare and political environments in which they practice. An excellent acquisition for most libraries.-Kathy Arsenault, Univ. of South Florida, St. Petersburg
Booknews
Lewis, once an assistant to Studs Terkel, brings both the master's interviewing skills and his compassion to bear on the frontline trenches of American medicine, the continually embattled Cook County Hospital of Chicago, the hospital upon which the smash TV hit "ER" is said to be loosely based. Her interviews with the widest possible range of people involved in running the hospital--from a former director to an elevator operator and a security guard--elicit fascinating stories and frank assessments of the American medical system in general and "County" in particular. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
William Beatty
In 62 interviews, Lewis presents a fascinating picture of one of the largest U.S. public hospitals during the past 50 years. She draws on a wide range of informants, from a transporter and an elevator operator to a resident and the chairman of a department. Skills derived from previous work with Studs Terkel help Lewis bring out the personal, social, political, and religious views of her subjects. Intense feeling about the hospital--whether of love, respect, frustration, or even hatred--binds the diverse informants together. A nurse sums up the pervasive attitude: "I like the freedom, to do things for patients and really be where you're needed." Karl Meyer, Jim Haughton, and Quentin Young--the most forceful and controversial hospital leaders during the period covered--receive both favorable and unfavorable comments. The hospital itself--provider of health care for the poor and underserved, capable of arousing intense loyalty among its patients, and prized as one of the best sources of postgraduate medical education--is, however, the star of the book.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565841383
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
11/01/1994
Pages:
349
Product dimensions:
6.45(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.29(d)

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Hospital: An Oral History of Cook County Hospital 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago