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

by

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

ISBN13: 9781594486548
ISBN10: 1594486549
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"Victoria Sweet writes beautifully about the enormous richness of life at Laguna Honda, the chronic [care] hospital where she has spent the last twenty years, and the intense sense of place and community that binds patients and staff there. Such community in the medical world is vanishingly rare now, and Laguna Honda may be the last of its kind....God's Hotel is a most important book which raises fundamental questions about the nature of medicine in our time. It should be required reading for anyone interested in the 'business' of healthcare — and especially those interested in the humanity of healthcare." Oliver Sacks, M.D., author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and The Mind's Eye 

Review:

"This is a unique book about a healer and those in need of her healing. Charting her journey in God's Hotel, Victoria Sweet shows us that medicine is still fundamentally a sacred calling. By illuminating this truth, Sweet provides comfort and inspiration." Jerome Groopman, M.D. Recanati Professor, Harvard Medical School, author of How Doctors Think, co-author of Your Medical Mind

Review:

“Victoria Sweet is a master storyteller and a consummate physician. Her beautifully written stories from the frontline of health care document the struggle of all modern-day healers, to hold fast to the immortal soul of Medicine despite the pressures of economics, the self-interest of politics, and the reductionism of science. God's Hotel reminds us of the fundamental truth that medicine is and has always been an act of love and brotherhood … and of the vulnerabilities we share and the compassion we aspire to.” Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather's Blessings

Review:

“Sweet’s watershed book ambushes and transforms you with its visionary middle way between the irreplaceable skills of doctors and the benefits of holistic medical knowledge and twenty-first-century technology and standards. Vital, exquisitely written, and spectacularly multidimensional, Sweet’s clinically exacting, psychologically discerning, practical, spiritual, and tenderly funny anecdotal chronicle steers the politicized debate over health care back to medicine and compassion." Booklist (starred review)

Review:

“A remarkable, poignant portrait of a committed physician on a quest to understand the heart, as well as the art, of medicine. Laguna Honda Hospital…offers veteran physician Sweet a unique education in ministering to the body, heart, and soul....A marvelous, arresting read.” Library Journal (starred)

Review:

"Sweet’s tales of her hospital, patients, colleagues, and herself offer a fresh linking of medicine past and present.” Publishers Weekly 

Review:

“Remarkably honest…in the dozen or so patient success stories, Sweet’s warm, anecdotal style shines....[Her] compelling argument for Laguna Honda’s philosophy of ‘slow medicine’ will make readers contemplate if perhaps the body should be viewed more as a garden to be tended rather than a machine to be fixed.” Kirkus Reviews 

Review:

“A radical and inspiring alternative vision of caring for the sick.” Vanity Fair 

Review:

“Engaging….You might not expect a book about San Francisco's most downtrodden patients to be a page-turner, but it is. With its colorful cast of characters battling the tide of history, God's Hotel is a remarkable journey into the essence of medicine.” San Francisco Chronicle 

Review:

“Sweet’s tone in God’s Hotel nicely matches her subject. Her writing has a lovely, antique quality….This hospital, with its chronically ill patients, crumbling buildings, and never-ending budget woes, was ‘a gift.’ In this beautiful and unique book, she shares that gift with us generously.” The Boston Globe 

Synopsis:

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, lower 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 body and soul.

About the Author

Victoria Sweet has been a physician at San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital for more than twenty years. Anassociate 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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

from the reading room, November 16, 2013 (view all comments by from the reading room)
Dr. Victoria Sweet’s life and view of medicine were completely transformed during her twenty years in San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital, the last crumbling “almshouse” in the country, as she began to incorporate the surprisingly effective medical approaches of Hildegarde of Bingen, medieval healer, mystic,and herbalist. “God’s Hotel: A Doctor, A Hospital and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine, completely absorbed me. Sweet’s patients steal our hearts, her personal journey captivates, and her challenging conclusions about today’s “health care system” vs. ‘”slow medicine” make this a terrific and timely read.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781594486548
Subtitle:
A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine
Author:
Sweet, Victoria
Publisher:
Riverhead Books
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Biography/Medical
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20130431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9.3 x 6.28 x 1.23 in 1.25 lb
Age Level:
from 18

Related Subjects

Biography » Medical
Featured Titles » Spirituality and Wellness
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Essays
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » History of Medicine
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Biographies
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Professional Medical Reference

God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.00 In Stock
Product details 432 pages Riverhead Books - English 9781594486548 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Victoria Sweet writes beautifully about the enormous richness of life at Laguna Honda, the chronic [care] hospital where she has spent the last twenty years, and the intense sense of place and community that binds patients and staff there. Such community in the medical world is vanishingly rare now, and Laguna Honda may be the last of its kind....God's Hotel is a most important book which raises fundamental questions about the nature of medicine in our time. It should be required reading for anyone interested in the 'business' of healthcare — and especially those interested in the humanity of healthcare." Oliver Sacks, M.D., author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and
"Review" by , "This is a unique book about a healer and those in need of her healing. Charting her journey in God's Hotel, Victoria Sweet shows us that medicine is still fundamentally a sacred calling. By illuminating this truth, Sweet provides comfort and inspiration." Jerome Groopman, M.D. Recanati Professor, Harvard Medical School, author of How Doctors Think, co-author of Your Medical Mind
"Review" by , “Victoria Sweet is a master storyteller and a consummate physician. Her beautifully written stories from the frontline of health care document the struggle of all modern-day healers, to hold fast to the immortal soul of Medicine despite the pressures of economics, the self-interest of politics, and the reductionism of science. God's Hotel reminds us of the fundamental truth that medicine is and has always been an act of love and brotherhood … and of the vulnerabilities we share and the compassion we aspire to.”
"Review" by , “Sweet’s watershed book ambushes and transforms you with its visionary middle way between the irreplaceable skills of doctors and the benefits of holistic medical knowledge and twenty-first-century technology and standards. Vital, exquisitely written, and spectacularly multidimensional, Sweet’s clinically exacting, psychologically discerning, practical, spiritual, and tenderly funny anecdotal chronicle steers the politicized debate over health care back to medicine and compassion."
"Review" by , “A remarkable, poignant portrait of a committed physician on a quest to understand the heart, as well as the art, of medicine. Laguna Honda Hospital…offers veteran physician Sweet a unique education in ministering to the body, heart, and soul....A marvelous, arresting read.”
"Review" by , "Sweet’s tales of her hospital, patients, colleagues, and herself offer a fresh linking of medicine past and present.”
"Review" by , “Remarkably honest…in the dozen or so patient success stories, Sweet’s warm, anecdotal style shines....[Her] compelling argument for Laguna Honda’s philosophy of ‘slow medicine’ will make readers contemplate if perhaps the body should be viewed more as a garden to be tended rather than a machine to be fixed.”
"Review" by , “A radical and inspiring alternative vision of caring for the sick.”
"Review" by , “Engaging….You might not expect a book about San Francisco's most downtrodden patients to be a page-turner, but it is. With its colorful cast of characters battling the tide of history, God's Hotel is a remarkable journey into the essence of medicine.”
"Review" by , “Sweet’s tone in God’s Hotel nicely matches her subject. Her writing has a lovely, antique quality….This hospital, with its chronically ill patients, crumbling buildings, and never-ending budget woes, was ‘a gift.’ In this beautiful and unique book, she shares that gift with us generously.”
"Synopsis" by ,

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, lower 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 body and soul.

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