cover image Hospital -Op/060

Hospital -Op/060

Sydney Lewis, Andrew Lewis. New Press, $25 (349pp) ISBN 978-1-56584-138-3

These brief, first-person narratives by physicians and other, often international, staff members of Chicago's venerable, 87-year-old Cook County Hospital are recorded and introduced by freelance writer Lewis, a former assistant to Studs Terkel. Eloquently, she demonstrates how needs overwhelm capacity in America's large public hospitals, which ``have become, in effect, a national health care system.'' In emergency, interns and residents practice ``battlefield medicine,'' caring for the mostly minority victims of violence, accidents and social deprivation, with patients serving as ``teaching materials.'' Most of the medical-service employees and patients depicted, from the head of the Pediatrics Trauma Center to a female security guard, share the same dedication to County and yearn for health care reform. A gripping report from the trenches, this is the author's debut book. (Jan.)