An abrupt history of the Manhattan hospital whose name is a adage for asylums everywhere.
If a being is taken to Bellevue, it’s never for acceptable reasons. It is the hospital area ailing homeless people, afflicted architecture workers, and blood-soaked cops and robbers come, scooped up from all over Manhattan, with aristocratic wards for the aristocratic and less-than-elite wards for the rest. In that sense, writes Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Oshinsky (History/New York Univ., and Medical Humanities/NYU School of Medicine; Polio: An American Story, 2010, etc.), “Bellevue is a microcosm of the burghal it serves.” It has fabricated annual for generations, in recent years for apartment John Lennon’s apache but additionally for accepting been the death place for Stephen Foster, O. Henry, and Lead Belly. That acquaintance in the popular culture, addendum the author, comes at a price, for admitting Bellevue has an ineradicable reputation, it is the absolute accessible hospital, alleviative rich and poor, accessory to every believable malady, its doctors researching epidemics, ushering in accessible bloom reforms, and dispensing acumen (“Work and keep out of the accessible chair….Don’t eat too abundant meat”). From the ER to the Insane Pavilion (“Imagines Himself a Mosquito—Now an Inmate at Bellevue,” reads one banderole of yore), Oshinsky’s annual focuses on people. Anecdotal, its learning agilely worn, it makes a accomplished accompaniment to the medical autograph of Atul Gawande and Richard Selzer. It is additionally abounding of discoveries. For instance, it should appear as no abundance to anyone that electroshock therapy, in which Bellevue was a pioneer, had its origins in the electrical amaze accoutrements acclimated to stun pigs afore they were slaughtered; it looks humane, Oshinsky suggests, only adjoin added “therapies” such as lobotomy, and it was activated to thousands of patients, “many of them children.”
A active addition to popular histories of New York and its institutions, aces of shelving alongside Robert Caro’s The Power Broker and Edwin Burrows and Mike Wallace’s Gotham.
From a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian comes a riveting history of New York's iconic public hospital that charts the turbulent rise of American medicine.
Bellevue Hospital, on New York City's East Side, occupies a colorful and horrifying place in the public imagination: a den of mangled crime victims, vicious psychopaths, assorted derelicts, lunatics, and exotic-disease sufferers. In its two and a half centuries of service, there was hardly an epidemic or social catastrophe—or groundbreaking scientific advance—that did not touch Bellevue.
David Oshinsky, whose last book, Polio: An American Story, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize, chronicles the history of America's oldest hospital and in so doing also charts the rise of New York to the nation's preeminent city, the path of American medicine from butchery and quackery to a professional and scientific endeavor, and the growth of a civic institution. From its origins in 1738 as an almshouse and pesthouse, Bellevue today is a revered public hospital bringing first-class care to anyone in need. With its diverse, ailing, and unprotesting patient population, the hospital was a natural laboratory for the nation's first clinical research. It treated tens of thousands of Civil War soldiers, launched the first civilian ambulance corps and the first nursing school for women, pioneered medical photography and psychiatric treatment, and spurred New York City to establish the country's first official Board of Health.
As medical technology advanced, voluntary hospitals began to seek out patients willing to pay for their care. For charity cases, it was left to Bellevue to fill the void. The latter decades of the twentieth century brought rampant crime, drug addiction, and homelessness to the nation's struggling cities—problems that called a public hospital's very survival into question. It took the AIDS crisis to cement Bellevue's enduring place as New York's ultimate safety net, the iconic hospital of last resort. Lively, page-turning, fascinating, Bellevue is essential American history.
Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America's Most Storied Hospital
- BookBellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America's Most Storied Hospital
- Author:David M. Oshinsky
- Publishing Date:2016-11-15
- Number Of pages:400