God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine

God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine

Hardback

By (author) Victoria Sweet

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  • Publisher: Riverhead Books,U.S.
  • Format: Hardback | 372 pages
  • Dimensions: 145mm x 229mm x 38mm | 544g
  • Publication date: 26 April 2012
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1594488436
  • ISBN 13: 9781594488436
  • Edition: 1
  • Illustrations note: illustrations
  • Sales rank: 202,171

Product description

San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital is the last almshouse in the country, a descendant of the "Hotel-Dieu" (God's hotel) that cared for the sick in the Middle Ages. Ballet dancers and rock musicians, professors and thieves-"anyone who had fallen, or, often, leapt, onto hard times" and needed extended medical care-ended up here. So did Victoria Sweet, who came for two months and stayed for twenty years.Laguna Honda, lower tech but human paced, gave Sweet the opportunity to practice a kind of attentive medicine that has almost vanished. Gradually, the place transformed the way she understood her work. Alongside the modern view of the body as a machine to be fixed, her extraordinary patients evoked an older idea, of the body as a garden to be tended. "God's Hotel" tells their story and the story of the hospital itself, which, as efficiency experts, politicians, and architects descended, determined to turn it into a modern "health care facility," revealed its own surprising truths about the essence, cost, and value of caring for body and soul.

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Author information

Victoria Sweet has been a physician at San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital for more than twenty years. An associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, she is also a prize-winning historian with a Ph.D. in history and social medicine.

Review quote

"Transcendent...readable chapters go down like restorative sips of cool water, and its hard-core subversion cheers like a shot of gin..."God's Hotel "[is] a tour de force ...Others have written about the relationship between time and medical care with similar eloquence and urgency, but the centuries of perspective that Dr. Sweet brings infuse the point with unforgettable clarity." -- "The New York Times" "A radical and inspiring alternative vision of caring for the sick." - "Vanity Fair " "Engaging ... You might not expect a book about San Francisco's most downtrodden patients to be a page-turner, but it is. With its colorful cast of characters battling the tide of history, "God's Hotel "is a remarkable journey into the essence of medicine." - "San Francisco Chronicle " "Sweet's tone in "God's Hotel "nicely matches her subject. Her writing has a lovely, antique quality... This hospital, with its chronically ill patients, crumbling buildings, and never-ending budget woes, was "a gift." In this beautiful and unique book, she shares that gift with us generously." - "The Boston Globe " "Containing no medical jargon ...nothing too gory or gut-wrenching; just descriptive stories of patients, unusual treatments, a hospital in transition, and a doctor on a journey, learning to practice 'a beautiful art.'" -- "East Bay Express " "[Our] healthcare system might function a lot better if every single American citizen, healthcare professional, politician and legislator would read Victoria Sweet's insightful, beautifully written and moving book." - "Bookpage ""Sweet paints a dynamic portrait ...[which]is at its core testimonial to the body's remarkable ability to heal when it is provided with the simple ingredients of time and care." "-- Utne Reader "