The work of inner-city emergency psychiatric units might best be described as "medicine under siege." Emptying Beds is the result of the author's two-year immersion in one such unit and its work. It is an account of the strategies developed by a staff of psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, and other mental health workers to deal with the dilemmas they face every day.
Basing her anthropological research on Michel Foucault's works on institutional life, Rhodes spent two years observing and analyzing the staff (doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, etc.) at an inner city emergency psychiatric unit. Funded by a grant and asked by hospital administration to conduct the study, Rhodes, a faculty member at the school connected to the hospital, studied how workers cope with the overwhelming task of finding alternative care for the severely and chronically mentally ill. Success was often measured in how efficiently patients could be moved through the emergency unit to other facilities, thereby ``emptying beds.'' The tone of Rhodes's study with accompanying footnotes, endnotes, and bibliography makes it most appropriate for anthropologists and health care workers rather than the general public. For special and academic libraries.-- Marguerite Mroz , Baltimore Cty. P.L.