cover image Cook County ICU: 30 Years of Unforgettable Patients and Odd Cases

Cook County ICU: 30 Years of Unforgettable Patients and Odd Cases

Cory Franklin. Academy Chicago, $16.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-89733-925-4

Franklin, former ICU director of Chicago’s Cook County Hospital, girds his memoir with a simple yet powerful philosophy: as his medical career has been guided by his heart, he wants his profession as a whole to be grounded in empathy. The stories in this deeply humanist collection feature former patients, some well known and many well loved; remarkable fellow doctors prone to extreme arrogance; medical mysteries solved without the sleuths receiving their due attention; close encounters with celebrities; and Franklin’s own fleeting celebrity, including his technical advisor role on the Harrison Ford thriller The Fugitive. But Franklin, whose father also worked at Cook County, mostly writes of his love for a revered “charity hospital,” his profession, and the patients who made them both memorable. One such patient was CW, an elderly man whose heart was failing due to a bacterial infection caused by pulling out a tooth with some pliers. The “fancy doctors” scoffed at this “simple man from Texas who had no access to a dentist and no other recourse,” writes Franklin; “they had lost their empathy for people like CW long ago.” In a medical landscape dominated by “big business, a maze of profit centers, and bureaucracy,” Franklin’s fond memories contain seeds of pessimism about the future. [em](Sept.) [/em]