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The struggle for health

Cover of The Hospital: Life, Death,
A review of The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town by Brian Alexander

The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town is an intimate look at the doctors and patients who work, live, and die at Community Hospital.

Author Brian Alexander weaves a poignant story about the American health care system in crisis set against the backdrop of Bryan, OH, a city of 8,500, just an hour southwest of Toledo. Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers (CHWC) is just like many rural hospitals, struggling to stay afloat in a country where medicine has become synonymous with big business. While CEO Phil Ennen and other executives grapple with a dwindling bottom line and the looming threat of being consumed by larger medical conglomerates, doctors are busy trying to keep their patients healthy, and the citizens are the ones paying for it…literally, in dollars as well as their lives.

At times heartbreaking; at times rage inducing; at times encouraging; yet always thought provoking, Alexander offers readers an unflinching look at our nation’s broken health care system, one that has always favored the haves over the have notes for nearly a century. Ultimately, The Hospital is not able to provide Americans with a solution to this problem, but by illuminating the issue, we can begin to advocate for better health care for ourselves and our loved ones.

Author Brian Alexander had a conversation with Angela Fitzgerald Ward, host of Wisconsin Life on WPR, as part of a series made possible through a partnership between Madison Public Library and the All of Us Research Project at the UW-Madison. To hear that discussion, you can find the recording here.

--reviewed by Farrah 


Apr 13, 2021