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God's Hotel

A Doctor, A Hospital, and A Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine

Sweet, Victoria

(Book - 2012)
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
God's Hotel
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"San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital is the last almshouse in the country, a descendant of the Hotel-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 twenty 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"-- Provided by publisher. "Choosing service in the last remaining almshouse in America, and tracing our understanding of medicine back to its medieval roots, a physician uncovers lost lessons in the care of body and soul"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2012
ISBN: 9781594488436
1594488436
9781594486548
Characteristics: 372 p. ; 24 cm

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April 10th meeting


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Quite good. Very informative and inspirational.

Jun 02, 2013
  • Jane60201 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Describes the change over the last ten years between medicine as usual and the new methods of delivering health care--which are not going to go away.

Apr 26, 2013
  • ClaireM_W rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A great book that gives you hope for humankind. Also, a horrifying description of what modern health care has degenerated to (in the U.S., but give us 5 yrs and Canada will be there too.)
Remember when medicine was a noble profession? Really, it was. This brave author shoes the way back.

Oct 30, 2012
  • 1emanresu rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I could not put this book down. The way it is written is "magical" even tho, completely true. Left me with a feeling of awe.

Jul 21, 2012
  • Blackberry2 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is without a doubt one of the best books I've read in years. The author touches on bureaucratic inefficiency, the shortcomings of completely science-based medicine, Hildegard of Bingen and medieval medicine, the humanity and resilience of patients, and what she learned from her pilgrimage through France and Spain. It is about so much more than a hospital. I have a growing list of family, friends and colleagues I want to recommend it to and some of them will probably get it for Christmas!

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