VICTORIA SWEET, M.D.
- 1010 El Camino Real
- Menlo Park ,
- Postal Code:
- United States
Credit: Denise Zmekhol
Tuesday, May 8, 7:00 p.m.
San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital is the last almshouse in the country, a descendant of the Hôtel-Dieu (God's hotel) that cared for the sick in the Middle Ages. Ballet dancers and rock musicians, professors and thieves-"anyone who had fallen, or, often, leapt, onto hard times" and needed extended medical care-ended up here. So did Victoria Sweet, who came for two months and stayed for twenty years.
Laguna Honda, lower tech but human paced, gave Sweet the opportunity to practice a kind of attentive medicine that has almost vanished. Gradually, the place transformed the way she understood her work. Alongside the modern view of the body as a machine to be fixed, her extraordinary patients evoked an older idea, of the body as a garden to be tended. God's Hotel tells their story and the story of the hospital itself, which, as efficiency experts, politicians, and architects descended, determined to turn it into a modern "health care facility," revealed its own surprising truths about the essence, cost, and value of caring for body and soul.
Victoria Sweet has been a physician at San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital for more than twenty years. An associate clinical professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco, she also holds a Ph.D. in history and social medicine.
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