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This title in other editions

Mama Might Be Better Off Dead: The Failure of Health Care in Urban America

by

Mama Might Be Better Off Dead: The Failure of Health Care in Urban America Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Mama Might Be Better Off Dead is an unsettling, profound look at the human face of health care. Both disturbing and illuminating, it immerses readers in the lives of four generations of a poor, African-American family beset with the devastating illnesses that are all too common in America's inner-cities.

The story takes place in North Lawndale, a neighborhood that lies in the shadows of Chicago's Loop. Although surrounded by some of the city's finest medical facilities, North Lawndale is one of the sickest, most medically underserved communities in the country. Headed by Jackie Banes, who oversees the care of a diabetic grandmother, a husband on kidney dialysis, an ailing father, and three children, the Banes family contends with countless medical crises. From visits to emergency rooms and dialysis units, to trials with home care, to struggles for Medicaid eligibility, Abraham chronicles their access (or lack of access) to medical care.

Told sympathetically but without sentimentality, their story reveals an inadequate health care system that is further undermined by the direct and indirect effects of poverty. When people are poor, they become sick easily. When people are sick, their families quickly become poorer.

Embedded in the family narrative is a lucid analysis of the gaps, inconsistencies, and inequalities the poor face when they seek health care. This book reveals what health care policies crafted in Washington, D. C. or state capitals look like when they hit the street. It shows how Medicaid and Medicare work and don't work, the Catch-22s of hospital financing in the inner city, the racial politics of organ transplants, the failure of childhood immunization programs, the vexed issues of individual responsibility and institutional paternalism. One observer puts it this way: "Show me the poor woman who finds a way to get everything she's entitled to in the system, and I'll show you a woman who could run General Motors."

Abraham deftly weaves these themes together to make a persuasive case for health care reform while unflinchingly presenting the complexities that will make true reform as difficult as it is necessary. Mama Might Be Better Off Dead is a book with the power to change the way health care is understood in America. For those seeking to learn what our current system of health care promises and what it delivers, it offers a place for the debate to begin.

Synopsis:

This critically acclaimed book is an unsettling, profound look at the human face of health care. Both disturbing and illuminating, it is the story of four generations of a poor African American family coping with the devastating illnesses that are all too common in America's inner cities. From visits to emergency rooms and dialysis units, to trials with home care, to struggles for Medicaid eligibility, Abraham chronicles the Banes family and their access (or lack of access) to medical care. Embedded in the family narrative is a lucid analysis of the gaps, inconsistencies, and inequalities the poor face when they seek health care.

Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1: "Where crowded humanity suffers and sickens": The Banes family and their

neighborhood

2: The rigors of kidney dialysis for Robert Banes

3: Gaps in government insurance for Mrs. Jackson

4: Fitful primary care fails Mrs. Jackson

5: Mrs. Jackson's melancholy

6: The inner-city emergency room

7: One hospital's story: How treating the poor is "bad" for business

8: Who's responsible for Tommy Markhams's health?

9: Jackie Banes's "patient"

10: Empty promises: Preventive care for the Banes children

11: Robert Banes plays the transplant game

12: The Banes family and white doctors

13: Life-sustaining technology

14: Amazing grace

Epilogue

Appendix

Notes

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226001395
Author:
Abraham, Laurie Kaye
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Location:
Chicago
Subject:
General
Subject:
Public Health
Subject:
Health Care Delivery
Subject:
Medical care
Subject:
Poverty
Subject:
Poor
Subject:
Urban poor
Subject:
Quality of health care.
Subject:
General Social Science
Subject:
Urban poor -- Medical care -- United States.
Subject:
Poor - Medical care - Illinois - Chicago
Subject:
Health and Medicine-Medical Specialties
Edition Description:
1
Series Volume:
vol. 1
Publication Date:
19941131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
297
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects


Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » History of Medicine
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Politics of Health Care
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Practice Management
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Reference
History and Social Science » American Studies » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Children and Family
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Urban Studies » General

Mama Might Be Better Off Dead: The Failure of Health Care in Urban America New Trade Paper
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Product details 297 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226001395 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , This critically acclaimed book is an unsettling, profound look at the human face of health care. Both disturbing and illuminating, it is the story of four generations of a poor African American family coping with the devastating illnesses that are all too common in America's inner cities. From visits to emergency rooms and dialysis units, to trials with home care, to struggles for Medicaid eligibility, Abraham chronicles the Banes family and their access (or lack of access) to medical care. Embedded in the family narrative is a lucid analysis of the gaps, inconsistencies, and inequalities the poor face when they seek health care.
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