Weekends at Bellevue

Nine Years on the Night Shift at the Psych ER

By Julie Holland
(Bantam, Hardcover, 9780553807660, 320pp.)

Publication Date: October 6, 2009

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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Description

Julie Holland thought she knew what crazy was.
Then she came to Bellevue.

New York City’s Bellevue Hospital, the oldest public hospital in the United States, has a tradition of “serving the underserved” that dates back to 1736. For nine eventful years, Dr. Holland was the weekend physician in charge of Bellevue’s psychiatric emergency room, a one-woman front line charged with assessing and treating some of the city’s most vulnerable and troubled citizens, its forgotten and forsaken—and its criminally insane. Deciding who gets locked up and who gets talked down would be an awesome responsibility for most people. For Julie Holland, it was just another day at the office.

In an absorbing memoir laced with humor, Holland provides an unvarnished look at life in the psych ER, recounting stories from her vast case files that are alternately terrifying, tragically comic, and profoundly moving: the serial killer, the naked man barking like a dog in Times Square, the schizophrenic begging for an injection of club soda to quiet the voices in his head, the subway conductor who watched a young woman pushed into the path of his train. As Holland comes to understand, the degree to which someone can lose his or her mind is infinite, and each patient’s pain leaves a mark on her as well—as does the cancer battle of a fellow doctor who is both her best friend and her most trusted mentor.

Writing with uncommon candor about her life both inside and outside the hospital—her professional struggles, personal relationships, and the therapy sessions that help her crack the hard shell she’s formed to keep the pain at bay—Holland supplies not only a page-turner with all the fast-paced immediacy of a TV medical drama but also a fascinating glimpse into the inner lives of doctors who struggle to maintain perspective in a world where sanity is in the eye of the beholder.




About the Author

Julie Holland, M.D., is a psychiatrist specializing in psychopharmacology. An assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, she spent her weekends running the psychiatric emergency room at Bellevue Hospital for nine years. She is the editor of Ecstasy: The Complete Guide–A Comprehensive Look at the Risks and Benefits of MDMA. She lectures widely and has been quoted in Time, Harper’s, Slate, the Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Holland has appeared as a medical expert regarding mental illness and drug use on numerous television shows, including Today and Good Morning America. She runs a private practice in New York City and lives with her husband and two children in the Hudson Valley.




NPR
Friday, Dec 18, 2009

Dr. Julie Holland ran the weekend shift at Bellevue's psychiatric emergency room for nine years. In her new memoir Weekends at Bellevue, Holland describes the patients she encountered — from the manic to the criminally insane — and the reasons she eventually left the job. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Monday, Oct 26, 2009

Weekends at Bellevue is psychiatrist Julie Holland's account of her years treating patients in a New York City psychiatric ER. She says one of the hardest parts of her job was figuring out which patients were manic or schizophrenic and which were high on cocaine or methamphetamines. More at NPR.org

NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.




Praise For Weekends at Bellevue

“In Weekends at Bellevue [Julie Holland] tells the story of her own journey through medical school, residency, and beyond, and at the same time gives us startling insights into minds so damaged, human beings rendered so helpless by their own demons, that entities resembling souls can’t help but shine through. It’s a thrilling and meaningful trip. As I turned the pages I found myself thinking, over and over, Oh, poor novelist that you are, you really can’t make this stuff up.” —Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours and Specimen Days

"Weekends at Bellevue is a gem of a memoir. Holland takes us for a ride through the psych ER that is at once wild and poignant, a ride that leaves deep tracks in even the healthiest of minds."—Katrina Firlik, MD, author of Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside

“For anyone who has ever wondered what goes on in the mind of a psychiatrist, and what happens behind the walls of an institution like Bellevue, this is the book for you. An extraordinary insider's look at the typical days and nights of that most extraordinary place, written with a rare combination of toughness, tenderness, and outrageous humor, this book is a fast read that you will savor long after you have put it down.”—Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Why Our Health Matters

“Equal parts affecting, jaw-dropping, and engrossing.”—Booklist

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