I strongly recommend Dr. David Ansell’s new book, County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago’s Public Hospital.
Full disclosure: Academy Chicago, the book’s publisher, is my parents’ company. (They’ve also done What Went Wrong in Ohio, a/k/a the Conyers Report, and The Complete Transcripts of the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill Hearings.)
Dr. Ansell will be speaking at the McNally Jackson Bookstore on July 12 at 7:00 p.m.
‘Life, Death And Politics’ Treating Chicago’s Uninsured
June 15, 2011
The first time Dr. David Ansell went into the men’s room at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, he immediately ran out. “It was so bad, I couldn’t use it,” he says. “I ran across the street and had to use the bathroom there. It was quite an introduction to my first day at County.”
Ansell is now the vice president for clinical affairs and chief medical officer at Rush University Medical Center. But he began his medical career in 1978 at County, Chicago’s public hospital, where he worked as an attending physician for almost two decades. His social history of the hospital, County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago’s Public Hospital, details his own time on the wards — and examines health care in America from the perspective of the uninsured.
Working at County, Ansell says, made him realize just how much the current payment system drives health care inequalities. “There’s a misunderstanding that if you just go to the [emergency room], that’s health care,” he says. “It’s not. … And I don’t think the public or politicians really understand that. I think the last health reform attempt which is being bandied about — we don’t know what’s going to happen — is likely to fall short with regards to equity.”