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Book Review: Bellevue by David Oshinsky

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Dear Diary,
I work in public health, specifically in administration, and after 5 years I find myself fascinated by the chronology and history of modern medicine.

There have been things I've seen, overheard and personally experienced that have shaped a perspective I don't think I would otherwise have. It's true and unfortunate, that it takes an exposure to the "other" sides of things - both the unplanned and the unexpected, often painful - to become enlightened.

And regarding the topic of public health, America can do more. We can do better.

It was then I found the title, "Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America's Most Storied Hospital" by David Oshinsky. I read Alexandra's review of the book after she finished it, but what struck me most was this quote on the book's back cover:

"Bellevue is rich in anecdote, history, personality and narrative. It is an indictment of a society's failure, almost three hundred years on, to extend medical benefits to all, despite the efforts of this extraordinary hospital." (Nature)

Such truth resonated that I dove into it headfirst.

Upon coming up for air at last it seemed, as I finished the final sentence, my immediate reaction was, where did we go wrong?

What the f&%* has happened?

To call this book an indictment against the current state of our country's healthcare system is spot on, and is certainly not what I want my children to inherit when they age-off my employer's health benefits.

Though I don't hold a position of influence to effect any immediate change, I do believe this book enhanced my perception, my belief and what I envision for the improvement of this country.

Read it. This book is as fascinating as it is infuriating, and with the upcoming elections, I couldn't have finished it at a more proper time.

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