The Ailing Nation: Lessons From the Bedside for America's Leaders
Reviewed By: Susan Keefe
Susan Keefe reviews and promotes poetry, fiction and non-fiction, and is also author of the Toby's Tails series of children's books.
The author, Dr. Link, earned his MD at Washington University School of Medicine in 1982. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine and Bellevue, American’s oldest public hospital, where he is now the Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Link was Co-Chief Editor of the “Bellevue Guide to Outpatient Medicine,” winner of the American Medical Writers Association award as Book of the Year for Physicians in 2001.
I found reading this absolutely fascinating, the authors frank memoirs of events and the patients he has treated during his career in this prestigious hospital were both very entertaining, and revealing. One can only admire his candidity in exposing the inevitable mistakes which had been made in the past by the medical professionals. Yet, whilst doing this, he also revealed the very ‘human’ side of the nurses, doctors, and other professionals, and the invaluable gift of sixth sense which sometimes prevailed.
I would imagine that many readers of this book, like myself, will forget for most of the time the political aspect of this book, and the morals in the stories it contains. Because, quite simply, the writer has enrobed the politics so well in an excellent story that his message is naturally absorbed, as if my osmosis.
However, the book illustrates that the pressures, expectations, and management skills, required to keep a large hospital like Bellevue functioning smoothly cannot be underestimated. And, as we discover, it is not all about self, self, self, the hospital isn’t an island. There are the patients, workers, other facilities of the same, and similar ilk, to be added to the equation of every decision. Crisis, have and will happen, whether it be AIDS, Ebola, the coronavirus, or meteorological disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes and fires. All these factors, and many others have to be juggled carefully to keep the different departments running smoothly, and the patients care to the best possible standard. Also, importantly, when an error is discovered, it cannot be overlooked, or swept under the carpet, it must be dealt with, corrected, and measures put in place to ensure it is not repeated. Just like in ruling a country…
The author has cleverly likened the state of America to that of a terminally ill cancer patient. He however, unlike many author’s doesn’t blame one president/party or another, a particular set of circumstances, or even the handling of an individual event or crisis. He instead acknowledges that every illness is different and therefore calls for unique treatment, and just as importantly, accepts that the symptoms have been present for a long time.
He, as if medically treating the cancer, through his stories looks at the underlying symptoms of his patients and by extension the country. These life lessons and memories have given the author a unique perspective and he offers interesting solutions to America’s problems through them.
This is a book for the leaders and the people, both insightful, and educational. If only the people in power could embrace, and go forward with the author’s suggestions, this country would be in remission and a long way to recovery. Highly recommended.
Author’s Website: https://snickersnack.com/
The Ailing Nation is available from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1977224989?pf_rd_r=66F98YEPBBKWNMS48BRX&pf_rd_p=6fc81c8c-2a38-41c6-a68a-f78c79e7253f&pd_rd_r=ef82c49a-aeae-4928-9767-52b4a1164dee&pd_rd_w=gxIBO&pd_rd_wg=u76PP&ref_=pd_gw_unk