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Synopsis: Mama Might Be Better Off Dead is an unsettling, profound look at the human face of health care. Both disturbing and illuminating, it immerses readers in the lives of four generations of a poor, African-American family beset with the devastating illnesses that are all too common in America's inner-cities.
The story takes place in North Lawndale, a neighborhood that lies in the shadows of Chicago's Loop. Although surrounded by some of the city's finest medical facilities, North Lawndale is one of the sickest, most medically underserved communities in the country. Headed by Jackie Banes, who oversees the care of a diabetic grandmother, a husband on kidney dialysis, an ailing father, and three children, the Banes family contends with countless medical crises. From visits to emergency rooms and dialysis units, to trials with home care, to struggles for Medicaid eligibility, Abraham chronicles their access (or lack of access) to medical care.
Told sympathetically but without sentimentality, their story reveals an inadequate health care system that is further undermined by the direct and indirect effects of poverty. When people are poor, they become sick easily. When people are sick, their families quickly become poorer.
Embedded in the family narrative is a lucid analysis of the gaps, inconsistencies, and inequalities the poor face when they seek health care. This book reveals what health care policies crafted in Washington, D. C. or state capitals look like when they hit the street. It shows how Medicaid and Medicare work and don't work, the Catch-22s of hospital financing in the inner city, the racial politics of organ transplants, the failure of childhood immunization programs, the vexed issues of individual responsibility and institutional paternalism. One observer puts it this way: "Show me the poor woman who finds a way to get everything she's entitled to in the system, and I'll show you a woman who could run General Motors."
Abraham deftly weaves these themes together to make a persuasive case for health care reform while unflinchingly presenting the complexities that will make true reform as difficult as it is necessary. Mama Might Be Better Off Dead is a book with the power to change the way health care is understood in America. For those seeking to learn what our current system of health care promises and what it delivers, it offers a place for the debate to begin.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.: Two decades worth of Mrs. Jackson's medical history were never transferred from Dr. Marino to Mount Sinai, as would be routine for middle-class patients. Her new physicians may have assumed that, like many other poor blacks, she did not have any regular source of primary care, or that the information from a "storefront doctor" would not have been reliable.
When dialysis was introduced in the 1960s as the first treatment for otherwise fatal renal failure, there were not enough machines to meet the demand, so doctors and others decided who would receive the lifesaving treatment. The most infamous example of that process was in Seattle, where a committee comprised of a lawyer, minister, housewife, labor leader, government official, banker, and three physicians decided who would live and who would die. The group, whose deliberations were chronicled in Life magazine, was biased toward patients who held good jobs and supported families who otherwise might be on the public dole. Divorce was frowned upon, as was a poor education.
Title: Mama Might Be Better Off Dead: The Failure ...
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press
Publication Date: 1993
Book Condition: New
Book Description University of Chicago Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fair. Bookseller Inventory # G0226001385I5N00
Book Description University of Chicago Press, 1993. Book Condition: Used. BOOK CONDITION: Used books will have varying degrees of wear, highlighting, and notations. Access codes & supplemental materials may not be included. Inventory is subject to prior sale. SHIPPING: Only Standard shipping to PO Boxes. We are not able to ship to APO/FPOs or Internationally. Orders are shipped from Illinois. Bookseller Inventory # 3240017U2
Book Description University of Chicago Press, 1993. Book Condition: Used. This Book is in Good Condition. Clean Copy With Light Amount of Wear. 100% Guaranteed. Summary: Elizabeth A. Kaye specializes in communications as part of her coaching and consulting practice. She has edited Requirements for Certification since the 2000-01 edition. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_usedgood_0226001385
Book Description University of Chicago Press, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used: Good. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0226001385
Book Description Univ of Chicago Pr, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., 1993. Hardback. Book Condition: VG+. Dust Jacket Condition: Gd++. First Printing. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Book is unread and near-flawless--has a small stain to the vertical edge of the front endpaper. Vertical page ends are also stained towards the bottom of book (not visible inside of book. Dj is near-flawless--missing a tiny piece from the spine top. Bookseller Inventory # 009055
Book Description University of Chicago Press, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. 1st Edition. Fine copy in hardcover with near fine dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 017923
Book Description The University of Chicago Press, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. Ex library cloth book and mylar covered dust jacket in very good condition. Not price clipped. ; Ex-Library; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; 289 pages Very Good in Very Good dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 5412
Book Description Book Condition: Good. Book Condition: Good. Bookseller Inventory # 97802260013884.0
Book Description Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Used book in VERY GOOD condition. Tight Spine, Cover shows minor wear. Minor markings and highlights inside the book. Text Only. Fast Shipping. Prompt Customer Service. Satisfaction guaranteed. Bookseller Inventory # 0226001385VGA
Book Description University of Chicago Press, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used: Good. Bookseller Inventory # 9310815