God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine

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Penguin, Apr 26, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 432 pages
Victoria Sweet's new book, SLOW MEDICINE, is on sale now!

For readers of Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air, a medical “page-turner” that traces one doctor’s “remarkable journey to the essence of medicine” (The San Francisco Chronicle). 

San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital is the last almshouse in the country, a descendant of the Hôtel-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, relatively low-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 the body and the soul.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Eoin - www.librarything.com

3.4 A contemplative and curious remembering of San Francisco's almshouse. Serviceably written with forgivable repetition and clunk, this book is an interesting argument against prevailing tends in ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - m2snick - LibraryThing

So well written and engaging, this is an entertaining, informative, and inspirational book and I loved it. It demonstrates how health care used to be and How it should/could be now. Every legislator ... Read full review

All 12 reviews »

Contents

Introduction HOW I CAME TO GODS HOTEL
One FIRST YEARS
Two THE LOVE OF HER LIFE
Three THE VISIT OF DEE AND TEE HEALTHCARE
Four THE MIRACULOUS HEALING OF TERRY BECKER
Six DR DIET DR QUIET AND DR MERRYMAN
Seven DANCING TO THE TUNE OF GLENN MILLER
Eight WEDDING AT CANA
Nine HOW I FELL IN LOVE
Ten ITS A WONDERFUL COUNTRY
Eleven RECALLED TO LIFE
Twelve THE SPIRIT OF GODS HOTEL
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Victoria Sweet has been a physician at San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital for more than twenty years. An associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, she is also a prize-winning historian with a Ph.D. in history and social medicine.

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