Sometimes Amazing Things Happen

Sometimes Amazing Things Happen

Heartbreak and Hope on the Bellevue Hospital Psychiatric Prison Ward

Book - 2017
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The chief of psychiatry for Correctional Health Services in New York City presents a memoir of her work inside Bellevue Hospital's forensic psychiatry unit to share insights into the cases, colleagues, and system that have shaped her views about survival and humanity.
"Welcome to the Bellevue Hospital Psychiatric Prison Ward, a maximum-security hospital and inpatient psychiatric unit for the inmates of the New York City jail system, with its hub on Rikers Island. It is a world of heartbreak, violence, and pain, where severely ill men are often lost in a tangle of courts, jails, and bureaucracy. It is also a place of challenges, redemption, and surprising joy, where tough, hardworking doctors and staff fight to care for and keep safe a population that many would like to forget. This is where Dr. Elizabeth Ford, now the Chief of Psychiatry for Correctional Health Services for New York City's Health and Hospitals, found her calling. Dr. Ford shares her stories of caring for these patients from one of the most hated and alienated inmates at Rikers, who cries when discussing his abusive childhood, to the writer, who agrees to treatment in exchange for Dr. Ford's take on the opening chapter of his book, to the twenty-four-year-old schizophrenic whom Dr. Ford later encounters on the streets of Manhattan, happy and healthy after finally finding the right medication. Ford's riveting memoir is marked by explosive crises and episodes of violent psychosis, but also moving stories of compassion and hope in the face of overwhelming dysfunction. Eloquent and urgent, her indelible chronicle offers affecting proof that sometimes amazing things happen."--Jacket.
Published: New York :, Regan Arts,, 2017.
Edition: First Regan Arts hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781941393437
Branch Call Number: 616.8914 FOR
Characteristics: viii, 247 pages ;,24 cm


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Jun 23, 2017

I read this book as a result of an NPR interview with the author. The book takes us through the interest she developed for medicine after being allowed to view a corpse that was to be used for dissection in a friend's anatomy class. From there she decides that psychiatry is her field of interest. When she does a fellowship in Bellevue Hospital in the ward where the criminally insane are sent from Riker's Island prison to be treated, she develops a need to help these men who keep revolving in the prison system because of their mental problems. We see what her daily routine consists of, as well as the cost of trying to be a mother while dealing with high maintenance patients. The part of the book about rescuing her patients from Hurricane Sandy was particularly exciting. No one wanted to have her patients transferred to their facility. When they finally secured a place for them, they had to get them down from the 19th floor without an elevator. Leaving them there was untenable, because there was no running water, electricity in a limited area from a generator, and supplies had to be walked up nineteen floors. Quite a challenge.


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