A Chicago summer weekend. No air conditioning, few fans. Ragged screens let fly gangs descend on overflowing garbage cans. Since there are not enough nurses, most patients haven't bathed in days. Used bed linen intersperses with uncollected dinner trays. In the early 1990s, thousands of people - patients, doctors, nurses, families - struggle to get through each day as Cook County Hospital literally crumbles around them. County follows a new doctor as she hesitantly steps into this chaos. By turns funny and heart-breaking, the story introduces us to Lu, a sexy nurse with HIV, Eugene, adept at avoiding the authorities who want to treat his drug-resistant tuberculosis, and Lunelle, a patient who offers to riot when the hospital administration threatens to close the doctor's clinic. In time, the doctor learns the meaning of courage, loss, and - especially - love. Written as a narrative poem to impose structure on this pandemonium, County is a tour de force of rhyme, meter, and storytelling.