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A Book We Love: God's Hotel

Judy, Belmar Library

God's Hotel: a Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine by Victoria Sweet

Wrap up in this engaging memoir about a doctor whose passion to learn the best way to practice medicine has taken her on some interesting journeys.  When Dr. Sweet takes a position with the last almshouse hospital, Laguna Honda, in San Francisco, it is just temporary and part-time so that she can pursue her dream of studying medieval medicine.  However, she ends up staying for 20 years at this old hospital that was initially for very sick people that had nowhere else to go.  She finds the “slow medicine” practice at the hospital intriguing. Her compassionate tales about patients and the staff that work at the hospital and what she learns from them are fascinating.
Along the way, she achieves her dream of studying the famous nun, Hildegard of Bingen, a healer and mystic of 12th century Germany. Hildegard practiced a “garden model” of medicine which looked upon the body as a garden to be tended as opposed to the modern medicine model which views the body as a machine to be fixed.  This study and her experience at Laguna Honda would transform the way Dr. Sweet practices medicine.

Those interested in health care and practice of medicine or anyone just looking for a unique memoir will find this an enjoyable read.