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Living and Dying in Brick City: An E.R. Doctor Returns Home Hardcover – February 12, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau; 1 edition (February 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400069947
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400069941
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Davis—an African American who grew up in a tough neighborhood in Newark, aka Brick City, beat the odds, and became an emergency room doctor in the hospital where he was born—is a likable but flawed hero. And his book is a page-turner as he and Washington Post writer and editor Page, coauthor of the best-selling memoir The Pact (2002) with Davis and his best childhood friends, create memorable scenes. To compellingly tell the story of the health crisis in poor, urban America, they draw on Davis’ experiences in the emergency room and in his own family. His dad gets prostate cancer, his older sister contracts AIDS, and his older, alcoholic brother becomes paralyzed because of a fight. Davis describes trying and failing to help such emergency-room patients as a victim of domestic violence and a 700-pound woman. He tries to figure out whether sickle-cell-anemia patients who come into the ER complaining of pain truly need prescription medication or if they’re just looking for an easy fix. A personal and thought-provoking look at inner-city health. --Karen Springen

Review

“A pull-no-punches look at health care from a seldom-heard sector . . . Living and Dying isn’t a sky-is-falling chronicle. It’s a real, gutsy view of a city hospital.”Essence
 
“Gripping . . . a prescription to help kids dream bigger than their circumstances, from someone who really knows.”People
 
“[Dr. Davis] is really a local hero. His story has inspired so many of our young people, and he’s got his finger on the pulse of what is a challenge in Newark, and frankly all across America. . . . I think his book is going to make a big impact.”—Cory Booker

“Some memoirs are heartfelt, some are informative and some are even important. Few, however, are all three. . . . As rare as it is for a book to be heartfelt, well written and inspirational, it’s even rarer for a critic to say that a book should be required reading. This ought to be included in high school curricula—for the kids in the suburbs who have no idea what life is like in the inner cities, and for the kids in the inner cities to know that there is a way out.”—The Star-Ledger
 
“Dramatic and powerful.”—New York Daily News

“This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Sampson Davis’s personal story is powerful, and his experiences in the ER room underscore the lack of effective health care in our underserved communities. Newark is lucky to have him as a citizen, and we are all lucky that he has shared his insights and expertise with us in Living and Dying in Brick City. His is an important voice in the conversation on health care in this country.”—Wes Moore, author of The Other Wes Moore
 
“This book just might save your life. Sampson Davis shares fascinating stories from the E.R. and addresses the inner-city health crisis. His book is an important investment in your most valuable resource: your health.”—Suze Orman, author of The Money Class
 
“This book is living proof that behind the boarded-up windows of one of America’s most neglected cities, beyond the sorrow and the pain, there is much more than we’ve come to expect. There is hope. There is change. There is redemption for Brick City. The book will open your eyes to a part of the world that most of us only see from behind the wheel of a tightly locked car. Sampson Davis is not afraid to lift heavy objects in this world. I’m glad he shared his journey with us, so that we know it is possible.”—James McBride, author of The Color of Water

Living and Dying in Brick City provides a fascinating look at the interesting but often terrifying life of a medical professional in a tough inner-city hospital. More importantly it provides excellent and very practical advice about healthcare issues that are relevant to people of every socioeconomic group. It is entertaining while being helpful.” —Benjamin S. Carson Sr., MD, The Benjamin S Carson Sr MD and Dr Evelyn Spiro RN Professor and Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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The book is easy to read and very clear.
Observer One
I already knew a little about Dr. Davis' story from the other books, but really appreciate how candidly he tells his story here.
NickKnack
I really appreciate Dr. Davis' efforts to highlight the issues that frequently cause so much loss of life in our community.
M. B. Fielder

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jack on February 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"Living and Dying in Brick City" is an eye-opening book by Dr. Sampson Davis, previously best known for co-writing "The Pact." In "The Pact," Dr. Davis described the bond that he made with two other kids with whom he grew up in the inner city. They decided that they would all rise out of their difficult surroundings and become physicians, and all three have lived up to that promise. In "Living and Dying" Dr. Davis returns back home to Newark as an Emergency Room attending physician, where he works in Beth Israel Hospital, a tough inner city hospital that sees its share of drama and tragedies. He tells the gritty and affecting stories of many of his memorable patients. Their stories are at times uplifting and at times sad reminders of how our society sometimes fails its least fortunate.

One fascinating story involved a young man who arrived in the ER with critical gunshot wounds. He was transported to the ICU where he died. Dr. Davis recognized his name on the patient list as a kid who accompanied him when they committed an armed robbery at the age of 17. Unlike Dr. Davis, who went on to success as a physician, this young man went in a completely different direction. It's stories like these that make one realize the small forks in the road that can determine our lives.

Unlike most other medical memoirs, this book also gives practical advice to people who are trapped in the difficult situations of many of the patients in his stories. It's a wake-up call for people to learn about the difficulties and failings of health care in major urban settings. I really enjoyed it.

This book is the latest in what I consider a recent renaissance of medical memoirs.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kay Wade on February 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I agree whole-heartedly that its important to care and to let people know you care. Dr. Davis speaks the way he lives ... all the way. I have recommended this book to my daughter who lives her life in a similar way. I hope a lot of people read this inspiring book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By CYRIL D'CRUZ on July 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book can hold its own against any other similar example of medical drama, a genre very popular in print and television. If that was all it was, it would make for an exciting reading experience, but then disappear down the rabbit hole of memory. There is, however, much more to the book, which makes it truly unforgettable. The book is divided into thematic chapters with cryptic titles such as "Love Hurts" and "The Fish Bowl", that leave one guessing what they might signify. Each chapter uses actual cases that Dr Davis has encountered in training or in practice, but supplements the narrative with commentary on public health and social issues as well as personal biographical references. These three elements blend seamlessly and skillfully into each other effortlessly moving between them and yet creating a cohesive unit defining a specific problem. The descriptions of the medical cases are exciting, with all the drama encountered in an emergency room setting. The public health issues and problems are usually clearly defined and backed by statistical data that are sometimes alarming. The most gripping portion of each chapter, however is the biographical linking of the episodes and situations to the author by references to his personal story. This is the most poignant and heartwarming aspect of every chapter. Very few persons, if any, describing such events can really say "Been There, or Done That." A constant theme is "Look at me now. If I can do it, so can You."

Another unique aspect of the book is the listing of helpful information pertaining to the chapter immediately after it. Purists might balk at this unorthodox approach, arguing that such material should be relegated to the back of the book along with the citations and acknowledgements.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Deborah on February 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Part memoir, part resource guide, part political commentary and a lot of hope. The author, Dr. Davis, introduces struggles of an urban community through his work as an ER doctor in the area he grew up in. Most chapters highlight some challenge within the community such as violence or drugs, or health problems like obesity or smoking, as patients come through the ER. While describing a patient he is treating, he reflects on the challenges that he and his community have faced with that same issue. At the end of those chapters Dr. Davis provides helpful information and resources pertaining to the issue.

Highlighting the similarities of his youth with the youth who die because of drugs and violence, Dr. Davis looks at his life, wondering how he escaped the path that the others hadn't. His caring about his community, particularly the young people, shaped his career and the path he has taken professionally.

This was an easy to read and compelling book and one that I recommend.

**I received a copy of this book free from the publisher with no expectation of me to provide a review.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reader Lady on April 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Honest description of what happens in an inner city ER ! Bravo, one of the best books I have read this year !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sue mclaurin on August 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is one that you will not put down after you begin to read it. It certainly describes the author's experience; but most of all, it chronicles the community environment and relates the behaviors of the community to the delivery of health care. It also highlights the existence of disproportionate healthcare of city dwellers and individuals of color. What a powerful infusion of socioeconomic, physical, mental, and perhaps, spiritual elements into the healthcare needs of individuals and the healthcare delivery system.
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