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Publisher's Summary

Elizabeth Ford went through medical school unsure of where she belonged. It wasn't until she did her psychiatry rotation that she found her calling - to care for one of the most vulnerable populations of mentally ill people, the inmates of New York City's jails, including Rikers Island, who are so sick that they are sent to the Bellevue Hospital Prison Ward for care.
These men were broken, without resources or support, and very ill. They could be violent, unpredictable, but they could also be funny and tender and needy. Mostly, they were human and they awakened in Ford a boundless empathy. Her patients made her a great doctor and a better person. While Ford was a psychiatrist at Bellevue she became a wife and a mother. In her book she shares her struggles to balance her personal and professional lives, to care for her children and her patients, and to maintain the empathy that is essential to her practice - all in the face of a complex institution, an exhausting workload, and the deeply emotionally taxing nature of her work. Ford brings humor, grace, and humanity to the lives of the patients in her care and in beautifully rendered prose illuminates the inner workings (and failings) of our mental health and criminal justice systems.
©2017 Elizabeth Ford (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 08-04-17

It's Way Better Than Its Title (I Promise)

What did you love best about Sometimes Amazing Things Happen?

It's a beautifully honest story about her work, with far more empathy than you usually find in such narratives. "Jailhouse Doc" but for psych, and with a physician you know actually cares enormously about her patients.

What did you like best about this story?

The story is crafted in an unusual fashion, but I like it - unlike other doctor-memoirs, Dr. Ford doesn't alternate between her personal life and medicine, but intertwines them in a way that pushes the story forward.

What does Bernadette Dunne bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She does a nice job of vocalizing "characters" (real people, or at least composites per the author) with psychosis, which is not an easy task. It's a tough tone and pace to master, and she does a really nice job.

Any additional comments?

I'm not sure who let this title fly, but Dr. Ford is an enormously talented writer. If you're interested in criminal justice, medicine, or psychiatry, read this book.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Jean on 09-27-17


This book covers Dr. Ford’s psychiatry rotation in medical school. She says she discovered her calling on that rotation. She went on to become Chief of Psychiatry for Correctional Health Services in New York City. She worked at Bellevue Hospital and Riker’s Island. Ford discusses the mentally ill in the jail system. She also includes personal information about the problems of balancing her professional and personal life.

The book is well written and provides the reader with a good overview of the problems of the mentally ill in the correctional system. I came away with reinforcement of my opinion about the need to reform the mental health system both in the need to remove the mentally ill out of the prison population and get the mentally ill homeless off the streets. The book is a worthwhile read.

The book is almost eight and a half hours long. Bernadette Dunne does an excellent job narrating the book. Dunne is an actress and well-known audiobook narrator. Dunne has earned the Audie Award and over six Golden Earphone Awards.

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5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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