A riveting personal exploration of the healthcare crisis facing inner-city communities, written by an emergency room physician who grew up in the very neighborhood he is now serving
Sampson Davis is best known as one of three friends from inner-city Newark who made a pact in high school to become doctors. Their book The Pact and their work through the Three Doctors Foundation have inspired countless young men and women to strive for goals they otherwise would not have dreamed they could attain. In this book, Dr. Davis looks at the healthcare crisis in the inner city from a rare perspective: as a doctor who works on the front line of emergency medical care in the community where he grew up, and as a member of that community who has faced the same challenges as the people he treats every day. He also offers invaluable practical advice for those living in such communities, where conditions like asthma, heart disease, stroke, obesity, and AIDS are disproportionately endemic.
Dr. Davis’s sister, a drug addict, died of AIDS; his brother is now paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair as a result of a bar fight; and he himself did time in juvenile detention—a wake-up call that changed his life. He recounts recognizing a young man who is brought to the E.R. with critical gunshot wounds as someone who was arrested with him when he was a teenager during a robbery gone bad; describes a patient whose case of sickle-cell anemia rouses an ethical dilemma; and explains the difficulty he has convincing his landlord and friend, an older woman, to go to the hospital for much-needed treatment. With empathy and hard-earned wisdom, Living and Dying in Brick City presents an urgent picture of medical care in our cities. It is an important resource guide for anyone at risk, anyone close to those at risk, and anyone who cares about the fate of our cities.
Praise for Living and Dying in Brick City
“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 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
Davis (co-author of The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream) is clearly of, from, and for the Brick City Newark, NJ and in his previous book and work with his Three Doctors Foundation he made himself an inspiration to the kind of inner-city youth he was. Now writing about the urban African-American experience on the scale of Newark and the United States simultaneously, it is unclear whom Davis envisions as his audience. Identically-structured chapters feature a short patient story, a teaching point or moral, major issues in health and health care for African Americans, and concise public health information from government agencies. Though formulaic, patients are not made tokens, and medical information dealing with topics ranging from gang violence to depression to obesity is woven throughout. The most fully developed character, however, is Davis himself; he details his childhood, family, and life with both his own child and "adopted" children he has mentored in the community. Davis closes by discussing his leave from clinical medicine for full-time community and advocacy work, reflecting on how it's all part of the same vocation: to "help save lives".
Customer ReviewsSee All
Thanks for writing such a detail account of the medical problems that you see everyday. You have given me something to think about because good health is important.