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County: Life, Death, and Politics at Chicago’s Public Hospital | [David A. Ansell]

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

This amazing tale is the story of one of America's oldest and most unusual urban hospitals. From it's inception as a "Poor House" dispensing free medical care to indigents, Chicago's Cook County Hospital has been both a renowned teaching hospital and the healthcare provider of last resort for the city's uninsured. County covers more than thirty years of its history, beginning in the late 1970s when the author began his internship, to the "Final Rounds" when the enormous iconic Victorian hospital building was replaced and hundreds of former trainees gathered to bid it an emotional farewell.
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Publisher's Summary

The amazing tale of County is the story of one of America's oldest and most unusual urban hospitals. From it's inception as a "Poor House" dispensing free medical care to indigents, Chicago's Cook County Hospital has been both a renowned teaching hospital and the healthcare provider of last resort for the city's uninsured. County covers more than thirty years of its history, beginning in the late 1970s when the author began his internship, to the "Final Rounds" when the enormous iconic Victorian hospital building was replaced and hundreds of former trainees gathered to bid it an emotional farewell.

Ansell writes of the hundreds of doctors who went through the rigorous training process with him, sharing his vision of saving the world and of resurrecting a hospital on the verge of closing. County is about people, from Ansell’s mentors, including the legendary Quentin Young, to the multitude of patients whom he and County’s medical staff labored to diagnose and heal. It is a story about politics, from contentious union strikes to battles against “patient dumping”, and public health, depicting the AIDS crisis and the opening of County’s HIV/AIDS clinic, the first in the city.

Finally, it is about a young man’s medical education in urban America, a coming-of-age story set against a backdrop of race, segregation and poverty.

David A. 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 sees patients, teaches, volunteers as a doctor at a Chicago free clinic, and participates in medical missions to the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

©2011 David Ansell; Introduction 2011 by Quentin Young (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“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…We cannot have too many of these stories in circulation, to bear witness, to inform and to inspire.” (New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    cheryl pierce-reid Southfield, MI, US 11-19-11
    cheryl pierce-reid Southfield, MI, US 11-19-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Very Accurate account"

    I was in nursing school a little before the dates in the book. I attended City #2 Hospital in St. Louis, Mo. Homer G. Phillips. His account of Cook County Hospital is very accurate of the time. I saw many of the same things. Politics were the same all over the country, I could not get into the schools in Michigan where I lived. I am African American, we were not admitted to the schools there. After graduation I worked at the City Hospital in Detroit. Private hospitals did not accept minorities unless they could produce an insurance card. The rooms in the hospitals were then segregated.

    He is right on target.Listening was a flash back for me.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet South Lake Tahoe, CA, United States 11-22-11
    Janet South Lake Tahoe, CA, United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2009
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    "County: Life, Death & Politics"

    The individual stories of life and death are interesting, but the book is really about the politics of publicly-funded health care. Most discouraging: the book spans decades and basic problems persist. On the other hand, lots of room for hope: dedicated docs and some examples of top-notch medical care. Insightful and a good example of how the personal becomes political.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Dorval, Quebec, Canada 12-05-11
    Jennifer Dorval, Quebec, Canada 12-05-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Moving and disturbing account of indifference"
    What made the experience of listening to County the most enjoyable?

    The anecdotes from former patients, who shared their stories of bureaucratic indifference to their suffering. Dr. Ansell never overstates his argument and never plays with the reader's emotions.


    Would you recommend County to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes. I would recommend the book to my friends who work, as I do, in government and public affairs. It is a lesson in active listening and responding to unmet needs.


    Which character – as performed by Bronson Pinchot – was your favorite?

    N/A


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. Bronson Pinchot's delivery of the material was a bit off-putting. I would rather have listened to this book as narrated by its author.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeanne Saline, MI, United States 04-16-12
    Jeanne Saline, MI, United States 04-16-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Okay; interesting"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I'm not sure. I learned about public health, & Chicago.


    What could David A. Ansell have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Probably make it shorter


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Nothing, really


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Perhaps


    Any additional comments?

    I liked it; I was just ready for it to end before it did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry 11-22-11
    Terry 11-22-11 Member Since 2010
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    "A great view of County"

    I found the very well done. From having lived in Chicago and some understanding of County the book was a great read. David brought to light thinks I had no idea about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark CHAPEL HILL, NC, United States 11-22-11
    Mark CHAPEL HILL, NC, United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent, eye-opening!"

    Insightful glimpse into the difficulties of balancing health care and dwindling insurance coverage. 'Will open your eyes to what's going on in most major cities in the U.S.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry Balcomb Frisco, TX, US 12-16-11
    Terry Balcomb Frisco, TX, US 12-16-11
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    "Too Political"
    Any additional comments?

    I almost stopped listening to this book several times because of all of the political jabs taken at the Republican party. I realize that politics plays a huge part of a public county hospital system (I work closely with a system similar to Cook Co.'s), however, the author had too much in the way of politics and not enough in the history of the medicine.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eileen DUBLIN, CA, United States 11-22-11
    Eileen DUBLIN, CA, United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2004
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    "Outstanding"

    Outstanding story of the history of Cook County Hospital, Chicago, Il. Not just a lesson in it's history but also a lesson in the Public Health Care System. It's a system that no matter how awful or beautiful the building is or the medical caretakers are, it's a system that does not work. Obama and his cronies should read this book before they shove their health care down our throats. The care at Cook Co. is the best IF you can get it and if you live long enough to get an appointment or make it through the hours or even months of waiting it takes to get seen in a Public Health Care System. Great lesson, great book, and Great Doctors at Cook Co. Hospital.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SArt Atlanta, Georgia, United States 11-13-11
    SArt Atlanta, Georgia, United States 11-13-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Boring"

    This book is simply not smart. The author is a left radical. I could not finish it.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
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