San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital is the last almshouse in the country, a descendant of the Hôtel-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 20 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.
©2012 Victoria Sweet (P)2013 Tantor
A librarian who loves to read, whether in print or in the air
Absolutely fascinating memoir and portrait of Victoria Sweet's work as a physician at San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital as it struggled to move toward a 21st century model of care for those who can least afford it. I'd live to have her as my physician. ..and I'd love to meet her someday. Highly recommended.
I love the reading of this book.
I thought the content of this book was very insightful into our current healthcare system in America.
i'm very impressed by her life as well. Her accomplishments, The purpose of her work, and the intentionality of her life.
This book was recommended to me by another doctor, and I absolutely loved it. It kind of caught me by surprise, the narrator seems a bit slow and monotone at first, but the lilting, calm really works. It's got great medical stories, observations on administration in medicine, spirituality, franticness, peacefulness, and just about every other part of an intellectual doctor's journey. Very apropos to current changes in healthcare and some deep questions about what medicine means, and what really do we do for patients? It was fairly long, but had so many different parts that it was like watching a TV series with lots of different episodes. Really bummed when it was over. Highly recommended.
Should be required reading for all people involved in medical professions.
I wish I had read it while I was still practicing nursing. We all need to be taken care of and we need to take care of each other
A good history of a place. With occasional bursts of interesting information Like the all too shallow and brief story thread of Middle Ages medicine. A good start. Incomplete finish
Good enough but not equal to its promise it devolves into a play by play without much conexr or insight. Mucjh like what passes for journalism and communications these days
So, for that a respectable modern book about an interesting time and place
One doctor's story as she transformed her medicine and herself - interesting case presentations and thoughtful insights on the differences between practicing medicine and delivering healthcare
Very well done tonight I love the caring stories. It I s a shame when profit comes the motive in healthcare
I would think that this book would have a very limited audience because it is essentially about the demise and rebuilding of a San Francisco Institution known as Laguna Honda Hospital. The author shows her commitment to its success but readers who are not familiar with the political roller coaster this project underwent for many years couldn't care less about it. Dr. Sweet cared but how many others would?
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