Wednesday, September 28, 2011
County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago's Public Hospital by David Ansell
County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago's Public Hospital by David Ansell, 221 pages.
A passionate, compelling memoir of one doctor and his time at one of the busiest hospitals in Chicago. Ansell writes a book that is partly a history of the hospital, partly a glimpse into the idealism among a committed group of medical personnel in the 1970s and 80s. Cook County hospital was always a political football. With an independent board controlling the hospital itself, and the patronage-hungry county government controlling the finances, money was always in short supply, the hospital was always understaffed, the equipment was always obsolete, and the length of time that people spent waiting for care was staggering. Ansell attempts to weave the his own story of how he and four fellow med students at Syracuse University traveled to Chicago to intern at Cook County Hospital with the larger narrative. All of it is interesting, but the book seems at though it could have been longer.
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