Saturday, July 14, 2012

Book Review: The House of Hope and Fear

DETAILS: The House of Hope and Fear:Life in a Big City Hospital, by Audrey Young, M.D. Copyright 2009. Medical non-fiction.

SUMMERY:  Dr. Young was an attending physician at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.  The book recounts her struggles and challenges at the largest public hospital in a four-state area.  She shares stories of specific patients, especially the "undesirable" patients: those that are homeless, drunk or drug-addicted, that come through Harborview's doors.  She presents the business side of the medical field; the challenge of balancing the budget, of under staffing and overcrowding.

PROS:  Dr. Young's narrative style is engaging and easy to read.  She does a good job of presenting the struggle to balance cost and quality of care and the human side to the medical field.  Her book is informative and well-rounded.  For me, as a pre-nursing student and a Harborview volunteer, I found the details of patient care fascinating.

CONS:  This is clearly intended to be a persuasive piece about health-care reform.  Not that this is necessarily negative, but the book is not purely objective. I wished there were more details of patient care and less about the business side of the hospital, but this is purely my opinion.  If I were not interested in the medical field, I probably would have found some of the details a little dry, but with my background, I did enjoy them.

BOTTOM LINE: Despite any blurbs that might suggest otherwise, this is not Grey's Anatomy.  I would recommend this book for anyone interested in the medical field, however, some other people might not find it as interesting.  Three stars out of five.

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