• by David A. Ansell
  • Narrated by Bronson Pinchot
  • 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The amazing tale of County is the story of one of America's oldest and most unusual urban hospitals. From it's inception as a "Poor House" dispensing free medical care to indigents, Chicago's Cook County Hospital has been both a renowned teaching hospital and the healthcare provider of last resort for the city's uninsured. County covers more than thirty years of its history, beginning in the late 1970s when the author began his internship, to the "Final Rounds" when the enormous iconic Victorian hospital building was replaced and hundreds of former trainees gathered to bid it an emotional farewell.
Ansell writes of the hundreds of doctors who went through the rigorous training process with him, sharing his vision of saving the world and of resurrecting a hospital on the verge of closing. County is about people, from Ansell’s mentors, including the legendary Quentin Young, to the multitude of patients whom he and County’s medical staff labored to diagnose and heal. It is a story about politics, from contentious union strikes to battles against “patient dumping”, and public health, depicting the AIDS crisis and the opening of County’s HIV/AIDS clinic, the first in the city.
Finally, it is about a young man’s medical education in urban America, a coming-of-age story set against a backdrop of race, segregation and poverty.
David A. Ansell, MD., a Chicago-based physician and health activist, has been an internal-medicine physician since training at Cook County Hospital in the late 1970s, where he spent seventeen years. Now chief medical officer at Rush University Medical Center, he sees patients, teaches, volunteers as a doctor at a Chicago free clinic, and participates in medical missions to the Dominican Republic and Haiti.


What the Critics Say

“When it comes to the stories of his patients, many of whom he cared for over decades, from clinic to hospital to funeral, Dr. Ansell soars…We cannot have too many of these stories in circulation, to bear witness, to inform and to inspire.” (New York Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very Accurate account

I was in nursing school a little before the dates in the book. I attended City #2 Hospital in St. Louis, Mo. Homer G. Phillips. His account of Cook County Hospital is very accurate of the time. I saw many of the same things. Politics were the same all over the country, I could not get into the schools in Michigan where I lived. I am African American, we were not admitted to the schools there. After graduation I worked at the City Hospital in Detroit. Private hospitals did not accept minorities unless they could produce an insurance card. The rooms in the hospitals were then segregated.

He is right on target.Listening was a flash back for me.
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- Cheryl E Ligon

County: Life, Death & Politics

The individual stories of life and death are interesting, but the book is really about the politics of publicly-funded health care. Most discouraging: the book spans decades and basic problems persist. On the other hand, lots of room for hope: dedicated docs and some examples of top-notch medical care. Insightful and a good example of how the personal becomes political.
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- Jan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-19-2011
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.