Living and Dying in Brick City: Stories from the Front Lines of an Inner-City E.R.

Living and Dying in Brick City: Stories from the Front Lines of an Inner-City E.R.

4.6 9
by Sampson Davis, Lisa Frazier Page
     
 

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A riveting personal exploration of the healthcare crisis facing inner-city communities, written by an emergency room physician who grew up in the very neighborhood he is now serving
 
Sampson Davis is best known as one of three friends from inner-city Newark who made a pact in high school to become doctors. Their book The Pact and

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Overview

A riveting personal exploration of the healthcare crisis facing inner-city communities, written by an emergency room physician who grew up in the very neighborhood he is now serving
 
Sampson Davis is best known as one of three friends from inner-city Newark who made a pact in high school to become doctors. Their book The Pact and their work through the Three Doctors Foundation have inspired countless young men and women to strive for goals they otherwise would not have dreamed they could attain. In this book, Dr. Davis looks at the healthcare crisis in the inner city from a rare perspective: as a doctor who works on the front line of emergency medical care in the community where he grew up, and as a member of that community who has faced the same challenges as the people he treats every day. He also offers invaluable practical advice for those living in such communities, where conditions like asthma, heart disease, stroke, obesity, and AIDS are disproportionately endemic.
 
Dr. Davis’s sister, a drug addict, died of AIDS; his brother is now paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair as a result of a bar fight; and he himself did time in juvenile detention—a wake-up call that changed his life. He recounts recognizing a young man who is brought to the E.R. with critical gunshot wounds as someone who was arrested with him when he was a teenager during a robbery gone bad; describes a patient whose case of sickle-cell anemia rouses an ethical dilemma; and explains the difficulty he has convincing his landlord and friend, an older woman, to go to the hospital for much-needed treatment. With empathy and hard-earned wisdom, Living and Dying in Brick City presents an urgent picture of medical care in our cities. It is an important resource guide for anyone at risk, anyone close to those at risk, and anyone who cares about the fate of our cities.
 
Praise for Living and Dying in Brick City
 
“A pull-no-punches look at health care from a seldom-heard sector . . . Living and Dying isn’t a sky-is-falling chronicle. It’s a real, gutsy view of a city hospital.”Essence
 
“Gripping . . . a prescription to help kids dream bigger than their circumstances, from someone who really knows.”People
 
“[Dr. Davis] is really a local hero. His story has inspired so many of our young people, and he’s got his finger on the pulse of what is a challenge in Newark, and frankly all across America. . . . I think his book is going to make a big impact.”—Cory Booker

“Some memoirs are heartfelt, some are informative and some are even important. Few, however, are all three. . . . As rare as it is for a book to be heartfelt, well written and inspirational, it’s even rarer for a critic to say that a book should be required reading. This ought to be included in high school curricula—for the kids in the suburbs who have no idea what life is like in the inner cities, and for the kids in the inner cities to know that there is a way out.”—The Star-Ledger
 
“Dramatic and powerful.”—New York Daily News

“This book just might save your life. Sampson Davis shares fascinating stories from the E.R. and addresses the inner-city health crisis. His book is an important investment in your most valuable resource: your health.”—Suze Orman, author of The Money Class

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Davis (The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream) has written a medical memoir with a message. Born and raised in Newark, NJ, he watched his friends turn to lives of crime and drugs. He chose to stay in school. After finishing his medical degree and residency in emergency medicine, he returned to Newark to work at a hospital in his old neighborhood. Davis was troubled to see the effects of crime and poverty on the health and lives of Newark's residents, involving some he knew from childhood. This book is his response to that distress and a call to action to address the social and health issues that impact the inner city. Each chapter is devoted to a particular problem—domestic violence, drug abuse, asthma, gangs—and often concludes with a list of warning signs and advice and/or resources for those afflicted. VERDICT Written for the lay reader, this book will also be of interest to health-care professionals and anyone concerned about the effect of poverty and crime on the health of those who live in our inner cities.—Rachel Owens, Daytona State Coll. Lib., FL
Publishers Weekly
Davis (co-author of The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream) is clearly of, from, and for the Brick City—Newark, NJ—and in his previous book and work with his Three Doctors Foundation he made himself an inspiration to the kind of inner-city youth he was. Now writing about the urban African-American experience on the scale of Newark and the United States simultaneously, it is unclear whom Davis envisions as his audience. Identically-structured chapters feature a short patient story, a teaching point or moral, major issues in health and health care for African Americans, and concise public health information from government agencies. Though formulaic, patients are not made tokens, and medical information—dealing with topics ranging from gang violence to depression to obesity— is woven throughout. The most fully developed character, however, is Davis himself; he details his childhood, family, and life with both his own child and "adopted" children he has mentored in the community. Davis closes by discussing his leave from clinical medicine for full-time community and advocacy work, reflecting on how it's all part of the same vocation: to "help save lives". (Feb.)
From the Publisher
“A pull-no-punches look at health care from a seldom-heard sector . . . Living and Dying isn’t a sky-is-falling chronicle. It’s a real, gutsy view of a city hospital.”Essence
 
“Gripping . . . a prescription to help kids dream bigger than their circumstances, from someone who really knows.”People
 
“[Dr. Davis] is really a local hero. His story has inspired so many of our young people, and he’s got his finger on the pulse of what is a challenge in Newark, and frankly all across America. . . . I think his book is going to make a big impact.”—Cory Booker

“Some memoirs are heartfelt, some are informative and some are even important. Few, however, are all three. . . . As rare as it is for a book to be heartfelt, well written and inspirational, it’s even rarer for a critic to say that a book should be required reading. This ought to be included in high school curricula—for the kids in the suburbs who have no idea what life is like in the inner cities, and for the kids in the inner cities to know that there is a way out.”—The Star-Ledger
 
“Dramatic and powerful.”—New York Daily News

“This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Sampson Davis’s personal story is powerful, and his experiences in the ER room underscore the lack of effective health care in our underserved communities. Newark is lucky to have him as a citizen, and we are all lucky that he has shared his insights and expertise with us in Living and Dying in Brick City. His is an important voice in the conversation on health care in this country.”—Wes Moore, author of The Other Wes Moore
 
“This book just might save your life. Sampson Davis shares fascinating stories from the E.R. and addresses the inner-city health crisis. His book is an important investment in your most valuable resource: your health.”—Suze Orman, author of The Money Class
 
“This book is living proof that behind the boarded-up windows of one of America’s most neglected cities, beyond the sorrow and the pain, there is much more than we’ve come to expect. There is hope. There is change. There is redemption for Brick City. The book will open your eyes to a part of the world that most of us only see from behind the wheel of a tightly locked car. Sampson Davis is not afraid to lift heavy objects in this world. I’m glad he shared his journey with us, so that we know it is possible.”—James McBride, author of The Color of Water

Living and Dying in Brick City provides a fascinating look at the interesting but often terrifying life of a medical professional in a tough inner-city hospital. More importantly it provides excellent and very practical advice about healthcare issues that are relevant to people of every socioeconomic group. It is entertaining while being helpful.” —Benjamin S. Carson Sr., MD, The Benjamin S Carson Sr MD and Dr Evelyn Spiro RN Professor and Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Kirkus Reviews
An emergency-room doctor relates his experiences to the wider emergency of inadequate health care for inner-city residents in places like Newark, N.J., where he grew up and practiced medicine. In two earlier books (The Bond: Three Young Men Learn to Forgive and Reconnect with their Fathers, 2007, etc.), Davis and two boyhood friends described their experiences growing up on the Newark streets--how, despite the odds, they overcame the violence and chaos of life in a ghetto environment and became medical practitioners. Here, Davis describes the serious health conditions of patients he treated in the emergency room who lacked any other medical care, a "too-often overlooked population." Most poignant are the descriptions of his meetings with former street companions as they were wheeled into the emergency room, the victims of gunshot wounds, drug overdoses and the like. Most frustrating were the patients who faked ailments to legally acquire drugs for recreational purposes. The author cites the shocking statistic that in the U.S., deaths from overdoses of prescription painkillers exceed those from heroin and cocaine combined. Davis also faced high incidences of sexually transmitted diseases among black women, in his opinion spread because of unprotected sex. Tragically, his older sister, who had inspired him to become a doctor, died of AIDS. At the age of 27 (after his first year as a resident), Davis received an award for community service from Essence magazine. A page-turning wake-up call.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679605188
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/12/2013
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
211,853
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Sampson Davis was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. He is a board certified emergency medicine physician and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Pact, We Beat the Street, and The Bond. He is the youngest physician to receive the National Medical Association’s highest honor, the Scroll of Merit. He is a recipient of Essence and BET humanitarian awards and was named by Essence as one of the forty most inspirational African Americans. He is a founder of the Three Doctors Foundation and practices medicine in New Jersey.

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Living and Dying in Brick City: An E.R. Doctor Returns Home 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“Living and Dying in Brick City” is an eye-opening book by Dr. Sampson Davis, previously best known for co-writing “The Pact.” In “The Pact,” Dr. Davis described the bond that he made with two other kids with whom he grew up in the inner city. They decided that they would all rise out of their difficult surroundings and become physicians, and all three have lived up to that promise. In “Living and Dying” Dr. Davis returns back home to Newark as an Emergency Room attending physician, where he works in Beth Israel Hospital, a tough inner city hospital that sees its share of drama and tragedies. He tells the gritty and affecting stories of many of his memorable patients. Their stories are at times uplifting and at times sad reminders of how our society sometimes fails its least fortunate. One fascinating story involved a young man who arrived in the ER with critical gunshot wounds. He was transported to the ICU where he died. Dr. Davis recognized his name on the patient list as a kid who accompanied him when they committed an armed robbery at the age of 17. Unlike Dr. Davis, who went on to success as a physician, this young man went in a completely different direction. It’s stories like these that make one realize the small forks in the road that can determine our lives. Unlike most other medical memoirs, this book also gives practical advice to people who are trapped in the difficult situations of many of the patients in his stories. It’s a wake-up call for people to learn about the difficulties and failings of health care in major urban settings. I really enjoyed it. This book is the latest in what I consider a recent renaissance of medical memoirs. If you enjoy this book, I recommend two others that are fascinating reading. Dr. Anthony Youn’s "In Stitches" is a riveting and enjoyable read about one man’s journey through medical school. It’s filled with some of the most memorable stories of patient encounters I’ve ever read, and was the rare medical memoir that made me laugh out loud. It’s a must read for anyone interested in medicine and physicians. "Twelve Patients" by Dr. Eric Manheimer tells the stories of patients at the famed Bellevue Hospital, written by the former medical director there. The author pulls no punches in describing these affecting and often unusual patients in sometimes terrifying detail. Very recommended.
Sunflowers3 More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. These are amazing stories and they are well written. Dr. Sampson Davis also wrote The Pact and after reading this, I am going to have to read that too. Growing up in New Jersey, Dr. Davis made a pact with two friends that they would become doctors and then he returned to the area to practice. This book is a collection of stories from his experience in the emergency room. Following most chapters is a concise summary of medical advice. Of particular interest to me was the section on birth control and adoption following the very different stories of Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Givens. Maybe his next book could be a story about Mrs. Jackson? I would be love to hear more about her.
Anonymous 8 days ago
And additional life skill information. A caring and intelligent author. Thank you for your time and energy in compiling.
3azizi More than 1 year ago
g and Dying in the Brick City, is a phenomenal, life changing, impactful and super AWESME book, by Dr. Sampson Davis; as he shares his personal life-changing experiences as a self-motivate with the outcome of extraordinary success, as a African American male of a despondent inner-city community. This book is super intriguing, as he revels the reality issues concerning the healthcare field generally, and within the inner-city communities; whom is a passionate physician, which chosen to serving in his local community. This book is an affordable MUST have, and as your turn the pages of this book, you will become highly inspired, positively influenced, and greatly enlighten. This book will also leave you with hope, and endless possibilities…and I look forward to reading his next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book! Should be a must read for all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all the books by the Three Doctors and they were riveting. This one?! took the cake! I read this book in 5hours straight! I only stopped to eat or rather took a snack. I could not put it down! I felt addicted! Great book for all who can read. I would love to hear the experiences of the other two doctors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book can hold its own against any other form of medical drama, a genre very popular in print and television. If that was all it was, it would make for an exciting reading experience, but then disappear down the rabbit hole of memory. There is however much more to the book which makes it unforgettable. The book is divided into thematic chapters with cryptic titles such as “Love Hurts” and “The Fish Bowl”, that leave one guessing what they might signify. Each chapter uses actual cases that Dr Davis has encountered in training or in practice, but supplements the narrative with commentary on public health and social issues as well as personal biographical references. These three elements blend seamlessly and skillfully into each other effortlessly moving between them and yet creating a cohesive unit defining a specific problem. The descriptions of the medical cases are exciting, with all the drama encountered in an emergency room setting. The public health issues and problems are usually clearly defined and backed by statistical data that are sometimes alarming. The most gripping portion of each chapter, however is the biographical linking of the episodes and situations to the author by references to his personal story. This is the most poignant and heartwarming aspect of every chapter. Very few persons, if any, describing such events can really say “Been There, or Done That.” A constant theme is “Look at me now. If I can do it, so can You.” This book should be required reading as part of all Medical School Curricula or in any form of training associated with the Health Profession. In these days of Impersonal Medicine fuelled by avarice and a push by most medical students towards the most lucrative specialities, it may important to be reminded that unlike many professions, the practice of Medicine is really about helping others. If you live in an area of the country similar to Newark, and there are many such areas in Urban America, this book may help you deal with your problems. It may offer you some hope, realizing that there may be a way out, and there are resources you can turn to for help.   If you live anywhere else, you will learn about a part of the country you probably had no idea existed. It will give you something to think about when you are forced to make a detour through an area you would never venture into. It may even inspire you to want to do something about the problem.  The costs of urban neglect are astronomical and are borne by the community at large, and so it makes good economic sense to do something about it. This book will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will make you sad. It will make you mad. It will however warm your heart and perhaps inspire you. Every penny you invest, (not spend), in purchasing the book will return more than you paid. If you like the book, tell your friends and neighbors about it. Donate or circulate your copies. Lead book club discussions in your community and make sure your library and schools carry it. If you hate the book, you probably hate kittens, puppies and babies and need a nice big hug to warm your heart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was even better than "The Pact" - so heartfelt and soo much to learn from this wonderful man.