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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hospital: Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity, Plus Red Tape, Bad Behavior, Money, God and Diversity on Steroids, by Julie Salamon, 2008 * * *

In this remarkable book is an unflinching portrait of the doctors and administrators at Brooklyn's Maimonides Medical Center. Julie Salamon, a bestselling author and former New York Times reporter, illustrates the complex machine that is the modern hospital, vying to provide cutting-edge facilities and compassionate care, while being profitable. Maimonides is a case study for the particular kinds of concerns that arise in institutions that serve a simmering mix of ethnicities and cultures, particularly the influential Orthodox Jewish community. Maimonides is compared to a factory, where medicine is industrialized and streamlined for efficiency the book explores the political machinations that exist between doctors, staff, administrators, hospital and the community.  Julie Salamon paints a compelling, and damning, portrait of a dysfunctional health-care system while documenting financial crises, feuds, personality clashes and real life-and-death dramas. She succeeds in providing a completely unique, three-dimensional and compellingly human perspective of the demanding work—both frustrating and rewarding—that is rarely apparent to hospital patients and their families.

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