Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town
By Brian Alexander
The enterprise of illness is perverse. In too many cases, medical interventions are ineffective Band-Aids. Other components, like the place you stand within the social, racial and financial pecking order — and what ZIP code you have been born in — decide way more about your well being. As Bertolt Brecht stated so nicely, in his “Worker’s Speech to a Doctor”:
When we’re sick, we hear
You are the one who will heal us.
When we come to you
Our rags are torn off
And you faucet round our bare our bodies.
As to the reason for our illness
A look at our rags would
inform you extra. It is similar trigger that wears out
Our our bodies and our garments.
In “The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town,” Brian Alexander shares this actuality from the perch of a struggling rural hospital, recognized to its Bryan, Ohio, neighborhood because the “Band-Aid Station.” While the nonprofit hospital fights to remain solvent and unbiased, every day brings new gut-wrenching tales. From the C-suite’s tension-filled strategic planning conferences to life-or-death moments on the bedside, Alexander nimbly and grippingly interprets the byzantine world of American well being care right into a real-life narrative with individuals you come to care about.
Reporting over a interval of two years, which solely ended this previous August, Alexander went into examination rooms, sufferers’ properties and pathology labs, and rode together with ambulance crews. He supplies a deep investigative account that chronicles the workers of nurses, medical doctors, technicians and directors attempting to maintain the sufferers of northwest Ohio alive.
You will root for the hospital C.E.O. who’s tiptoeing round minefields, and for the immigrant medical doctors who’re decidedly unwelcome in Trump nation, at the same time as they struggle their finest. But the work is grueling and the lives are nearly impossibly onerous to avoid wasting. In delicate portrayals, Alexander shares how sufferers develop into sicker as care is delayed, prices spiral uncontrolled and all too usually sufferers die from preventable deaths. The total mess is stricken by a malignancy of despair. Everybody on this story is drowning.
Just as Brecht captured in 1938, what usually makes sufferers sick are situations we don’t see — or select to not see. Alexander identifies them with surgical precision, the underlying pathogens of pernicious poverty and the widening chasm of earnings inequality. Add in systematic racism, early childhood trauma and inequitable entry to wholesome meals, wholesome air and high-quality well being care, and you’ve got an ideal storm.