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Summary:5B is a documentary about the special unit created at San Francisco General Hospital (Ward 5B) in 1983 to take care of people with AIDS. Three years later, it moved to the larger Ward 5A, where it remained in operation until 2003 after the introduction of treatments effective enough to drastically reduce the demand for hospitalization and standards of care for AIDS patients were in place throughout the hospital. The documentary covers the medical, social, and political considerations surrounding the opening of Ward 5B, and the AIDS epidemic during that time.
Summary:Following the birth of her son, director Nanfu Wang’s foray into motherhood prompts her to consider her own upbringing in the shadow of China’s one-child policy. Starting from the experiences of her family and townspeople and extending to the policy’s international consequences, Wang documents the enormous cost of a social experiment that, when enacted in 1979, claimed to be absolutely essential for the economic salvation of the nation. Candid interviews with relatives, medical and governmental personnel, journalists, and activists are woven together with Wang’s personal musings on Chinese culture, civil liberties, and national memory. The film raises important bioethical questions, demonstrates a troubling intersection of medicine and the state, and confronts viewers with the realities of a policy that intruded into one of the most intimate aspects of a people’s humanity.
Summary:The novel's narrator is a widowed 58-year-old Swiss-born physician, Howard J. Rageet, who lives in New York City. His son is a pediatrician, his daughter a medical student. Rageet himself is terminally ill. He is writing a "little biography," of Mary Mallon, the infamous "healthy carrier" also known as Typhoid Mary. Rageet's grandfather, also a doctor, had kept a journal about Mary and his rivalry with his friend, (the real) George A. Soper, whose life's work became tracking Mary and proving that she was responsible for the typhoid outbreaks. Elaborating on the journal, Rageet recounts Mary's life in America.
Summary:Weather is a strange, disturbing, and important book. Offill uses fragments of prose—typically a few lines or half a page—to present a small group of characters in New York City who experience dread, unhealthy behaviors, and many difficult choices. The fragments jump from topic to topic and points of view, suggesting chaos in the characters, in much of modern life, and even in the structure of this novel. “Weather” suggests “whether”: whether humans can survive not only from one day to the next but also in the long term that includes the climate crisis threatening our earth.
Summary:"Mercy," winner of the Wolf Ridge Press Narrative / Poetic Medicine Prize, contains nineteen powerful poems--poems that provide an intimate look into the author's role as caregiver to her husband who is living with, and being treated for, liposarcoma. But the poems in this small volume are not just about husband and wife. Cancer becomes a third character, one who is often addressed as a presence lingering in the same house, sleeping in the same bed, never absent from every moment of struggle or from any moments of joy. In the opening poem, "Cozy" (page 1), the couple has "escaped" to a remote rented cabin. They slip "from love-rumpled featherbed and sheets" feeling "safe" within the sturdy cabin walls that "keep out driving rain or freeze." For those hours, nothing can spoil their happiness, "even Cancer, who squats on our stoop, / flipping his gold coin in lazy arcs." At the close of "Cozy," as the couple drives home from their respite, Cancer rides with them, sitting between them "as he hums and nods / pleasantly--first to you, then to me, // one hand lightly resting on each near thigh." The author weaves this threatening image of Cancer as an ever-present entity throughout the poems that follow.
Summary:In Death is But a Dream, Christopher Kerr, MD, PhD, the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer of Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo, shares his patients’ end-of-life dreams and visions. The content and intensity of these dreams vary, but often center on patients’ transient meetings with predeceased loved ones, offering a deeply spiritual sense of peace during periods of physical suffering.
Summary:A construction crew enters an abandoned apartment in NYC and finds an older man in a wool overcoat asleep in the bathtub. He can’t tell them his name or how he got there, just that he’s waiting for his friend, Sheila, to come back to the apartment. The building manager (Steve Buscemi) throws him out of the building and into a life on the street, drinking, sleeping wherever he can, and riding the trains. His name, we later find out, is George (Richard Gere), and he is one of NYC’s homeless men. George can’t seem to remember much about his past, only that his wife died of breast cancer, he lost his job, and he has a daughter (Jena Malone) who works at a nearby bar but wants nothing to do with him. After nights trying to find a warm place to sleep, George ends up at the Bellevue Men’s Shelter where he is befriended by Dixon (Ben Vereen). Dixon shows George the ropes—how to apply for assistance, where to get a copy of his birth certificate, where they can get a shower up in the Bronx. But Dixon disappears, removed from the shelter ostensibly for being disruptive. George is left on his own.