** God’s Hotel by Victoria Sweet

God’s Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine is a memoir by a physician at Laguna Honda hospital, the public sub-acute hospital of San Francisco, and along with its often colorful residents it describes what the author calls the slow medicine practiced there and many other topics of interest to her, including health care financing, her doctorate thesis about Hildegard von Bingen, and  her pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, so the book roams, literally, far and wide.

The best part of the book for me were the descriptions of the patients and the benefit of the type of unhurried, unheroic medicine that seems to work best for the patients, who often stay at the hospital mainly because they have no other place to go, being homeless or incapable to care for themselves. In particular, she highlights the many occasions where continuous care allows the physicians to uncover inaccurate diagnoses, and often liberate the patients from unneeded therapies. But while she makes a passionate argument that this kind of care should be funded along with and in many cases instead of acute, very expensive, and ephemeral care, her financial justifications are often dodgy and weaken her case. And the description of the politics of the hospital administration would make San Francisco taxpayers uneasy about how their funds are being spent…




Filed under True story

2 responses to “** God’s Hotel by Victoria Sweet

  1. Pingback: * Extreme Medicine by Kevin Fong | FT's Books

  2. Pingback: ** Slow Medicine by Victoria Sweet | FT's Books

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