County: Life, Death, and Politics at Chicago's Public Hospital

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9780897337199: County: Life, Death, and Politics at Chicago's Public Hospital
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"County is a landmark book, brave, angry and indispensable not least because Ansell declared . . . Obamacare was no breakthrough." -Julia Keller, CHICAGO TRIBUNE "When it comes to the stories of his patients, many of whom he cared for over decades from clinic to hospital to funeral, Ansell soars." -Abigail Zuger, MD, NEW YORK TIMES "With the nation's focus on a national health-care policy providing quality medical services to citizens regardless of race, ethnicity, and income level, Ansell's exposť will shock and motivate readers to take a stand on the issue." -PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY "Ansell skillfully humanizes questions of health-care policy by describing real-life scenarios . . . his gift for making the connections between social forces and medical care, coupled with the vivid patient stories interspersed with trenchant critiques of the politics of health care, makes this work stand out." -LIBRARY JOURNAL COUNTY is a medical thriller that weaves a tale of one of the nation's most famous public hospitals, Chicago's Cook County Hospital and a young physician's coming of age as a doctor and health activist. We follow Dr. David Ansell and his colleagues as they learn medicine and deliver patient care in a decrepit, outdated facility. COUNTY covers more than thirty years-from 1978 when the author began his internship until 2001-when hundreds of former doctors and staff, many of whom shared Dr. Ansell's vision of resurrecting a hospital in critical condition, gathered to bid the iconic Beaux Arts building farewell before it was closed to make way for a new facility. County is about people-from Ansell's mentors, including the legendary Dr. Quentin Young, County's Chairman of Medicine, to the patients who flocked to the hospital to get the care denied them elsewhere because of poverty, lack of insurance and racism. It is a story about politics-from contentious strikes and demonstrations to battles over "patient dumping." Finally, County is a story of race, poverty and health care inequality in America and a clarion call for a single payer health program in the U.S. DR. DAVID ANSELL is Senior Vice President, Clinical Affairs, and Chief Medical Officer at Rush University Medical Center.

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Review:

"CHICAGO TRIBUNE: "

."..the many ways in which poor patients were mistreated and devalued on its premises are the true subject of this book -- a valuable addition to the historical record of Cook County and its problem-ridden health care system. Ansell takes readers behind the scenes for a look at deplorable conditions."

Julia Keller, "Chicago Tribune:
"
."..'County' is a landmark book, brave and angry and indispensable, not least because Ansell dares to declare that the health reform legislation passed in 2010 -- dubbed 'Obamacare' -- was no breakthrough. It 'preserved the caste system of health care in America, one that all but guarantees different health outcomes depending on the patient's health insurance status.' "

Abigail Zuger, M.D., """The New York Times:
"
.".. when it comes to the stories of his patients, many of whom he cared for over decades, from clinic to hospital to funeral, Dr. Ansell soars. These sketches are, to be sure, the standard-issue material of a good doctor trying to do right by a set of immensely beleaguered fellow citizens. But unlike fairy tales, we cannot have too many of these stories in circulation, to bear witness, to inform and to inspire."

A.W. Klink, Duke Univ., NC:

"Ansell (chief medical officer, Rush Univ. Medical Ctr.) spent his medical residency and much of his early professional career at Cook County Hospital, historically Chicago's public hospital for low-income and uninsured patients. He weaves strands of memoir and policy analysis into a heartfelt account of the hospital's challenges, failures, and successes over three decades, from the Civil Rights Movement to the AIDS crisis, in the process educating and moving the reader to both anger and compassion. His gift for describing the connections between social forces and medical care, coupled with the vivid patient stories interspersed with trenchant critiques of the politics of health care, makes this work stand out.
Verdict: Ansell skillfully humanizes questions of health-care policy by describing real-life scenarios. Those who enjoyed such books as Richard Selzer's Letters to a Young Doctor will find this book an education for both the mind and the heart."

Judith Graham, "Chicago Tribune:
"
"On one level, Ansell's book is the coming-of-age story of a young, idealistic physician from the East Coast encountering racism and bare-knuckle politics in Chicago as he learns the basics of his demanding profession. With unusual honesty, Ansell, now the chief medical officer at Rush University Medical Center, recounts several medical mistakes that badly injured patients or cost their lives -- a result of his inexperience and challenging conditions at the old Cook County Hospital."

"Ansell skillfully humanizes questions of health-care policy by describing real-life scenarios . . . his gift for describing the connections between social forces and medical care, coupled with the vivid patient stories interspersed with trenchant critiques of the politics of health care, makes this work stand out." --- Library Journal

.".. when it comes to the stories of his patients, many of whom he cared for over decades, from clinic to hospital to funeral, Dr. Ansell soars. These sketches are, to be sure, the standard-issue material of a good doctor trying to do right by a set of immensely beleaguered fellow citizens. But unlike fairy tales, we cannot have too many of these stories in circulation, to bear witness, to inform and to inspire." -- Abigail Zuger, M.D., " The New York Times
"


"On one level, Ansell's book is the coming-of-age story of a young, idealistic physician from the East Coast encountering racism and bare-knuckle politics in Chicago as he learns the basics of his demanding profession. With unusual honesty, Ansell, now the chief medical officer at Rush University Medical Center, recounts several medical mistakes that badly injured patients or cost their lives -- a result of his inexperience and challenging conditions at the old Cook County Hospital." -- Judith Graham, "Chicago Tribune
"

."..'County' is a landmark book, brave and angry and indispensable, not least because Ansell dares to declare that the health reform legislation passed in 2010 -- dubbed 'Obamacare' -- was no breakthrough. It 'preserved the caste system of health care in America, one that all but guarantees different health outcomes depending on the patient's health insurance status.' " -- Julia Keller, "Chicago Tribune
"

"Ansell (chief medical officer, Rush Univ. Medical Ctr.) spent his medical residency and much of his early professional career at Cook County Hospital, historically Chicago's public hospital for low-income and uninsured patients. He weaves strands of memoir and policy analysis into a heartfelt account of the hospital's challenges, failures, and successes over three decades, from the Civil Rights Movement to the AIDS crisis, in the process educating and moving the reader to both anger and compassion. His gift for describing the connections between social forces and medical care, coupled with the vivid patient stories interspersed with trenchant critiques of the politics of health care, makes this work stand out.

Verdict: Ansell skillfully humanizes questions of health-care policy by describing real-life scenarios. Those who enjoyed such books as Richard Selzer's Letters to a Young Doctor will find this book an education for both the mind and the heart." -- A.W. Klink, Duke Univ., NC

About the Author:

DAVID ANSELL, MD, a Chicago based physician and health activist, has been an internal medicine physician since training at Cook County Hospital in the late 1970s, where he spent seventeen years. Now, chief medical officer at Rush University Medical Center, he also sees patients, teaches, volunteers as a doctor at a Chicago free clinic, and participates in medical missions to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. He is married to a doctor and has two children.

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