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Sunday Afternoon Book Group


COUNTY: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago's Public Hospital


The amazing tale of "County" is the story of one of America's oldest and most unusual urban hospitals. From its inception as a "Poor House" dispensing free medical care to indigents, Chicago's Cook County Hospital has been both a renowned teaching hospital and the healthcare provider of last resort for the city's uninsured. COUNTY covers more than thirty years of its history, beginning in the late 1970s when the author began his internship, to the "Final Rounds" when the enormous iconic Victorian hospital building was replaced and hundreds of former trainees gathered to bid it an emotional farewell.

Ansell writes of the hundreds of doctors who went through the rigorous training process with him, sharing his vision of saving the world and of resurrecting a hospital on the verge of closing. Radical Medicine is about people, from Ansell’s mentors, including the legendary Quentin Young, to the multitude of patients whom he and County’s medical staff labored to diagnose and heal. It is a story about politics, from contentious union strikes to battles against “patient dumping”, and public health, depicting the AIDS crisis and the opening of County’s HIV/AIDS clinic, the first in the city.

Finally, it is about a young man’s medical education in urban America, a coming-of-age story set against a backdrop of race, segregation and poverty.





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  • Susan

    Most everyone enjoyed reading County, finding it interesting and informative. A timely read with the start of Obamacare just around the corner. The 9 attendees gave it an average score of 8.2, with six 9's, one of our highest ratings.

    October 31, 2013

    • Gerry

      I'm changing my rating to 10.

      November 1, 2013

  • sara s.

    I ordered the book from the library. It hasn't come yet. If I get in time to read enough to participate, I'd like to attend. If not, I hope to make the next meeting.

    September 17, 2013

  • sara s.

    I would like to attend, but my life is a little unpredictable these days. I hope to be there. Do you change up the meeting place ever? Just asking cause I live quite far north and west. Thanks!

    September 14, 2013

    • Susan

      Hi Sara - We always meet at this Panera. People do come from all over the city so it seems to work well as it's pretty central plus has parking. Hope to see you there!

      September 14, 2013

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