From Houses Of Mercy To Temples Of Surgical Precision -- A New Book Explores The History Of Hospitals

y and lesbian, and many were strong advocates for patient education and advocacy in the face of such a bewildering and often overwhelming disease.

As Risse documents it, the spirit of the ward was extremely positive and uniquely supportive. One patient is quoted as saying, "`I know how the pioneers must have felt fearing what was ahead of them. My bed is like a covered wagon and we are all on a wagon train helping each other in a time of need.'"

This recent demonstration of strong commitment and compassionate caregiving in a modern hospital has served as a model for hospice development and for ever-increasing patient involvement in decisions about their own care. But perhaps most important, Risse suggests, Ward 5B is a modern testament to the capacity for health workers to provide loving and knowing care, and the capacity for the institution to reconnect with hospitalitas, infusing the modern, technically sophisticated hospital with the healing powers of touch, compassion and deep caring.


Contact: Wallace Raaven
University of California - San Francisco

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