"A powerful, true story of life and death in a major metropolitan hospital...Harrowing... An important book."
THE NEW YORK TIMES What is life worth? And what is a life worth living? At a time when America faces vital choices about the future of its health care, former NEW YORK TIMES correspondent Lisa Belkin takes a powerful and poignant look at the inner workings of Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas, telling the remarkable, real-life stories of the doctors, patients, families, and hospital administrators who must ask--and ultimately answer--the most profound and heart-rendng questions about life and death.
Belkin, a New York Times medical reporter, offers a detailed account of the rigorous moral and ethical considerations given to decisions made in the cases of several patients at Hermann Hospital in Houston, Tex., in the mid to late 1980s. By means of convincing dialogue and clear explanations of pertinent medical issues, she brings her readers into medical staff debates and through perilous operations, joyful remissions and death watches. The stories of Patrick, a dying 15-year-old; Armando, an adult quadriplegic; and Taylor, a premature infant who could fit into her father's hand, are presented in a novel-like narrative that also profiles the changes in hospital policy during cost-cutting times. Sympathetic portraits of hospital staff, patients and care-givers include images not easily forgotten: a father saying good-bye to his soon-to-die infant son and a terminally ill teenager writing in crayon, ``Leave me alone,'' as his mother talks to him about death. First serial to the New York Times Magazine and Redbook. (Feb.)