Twelve Patients (Hardcover)

Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital

By Eric Manheimer

Grand Central Publishing, 9781455503889, 355pp.

Publication Date: July 10, 2012



In the spirit of Oliver Sacks "Awakenings" and the TV series "House, " Dr. Eric Manheimer's TWELVE PATIENTS is a memoir from the Medical Director of Bellevue Hospital that uses the plights of twelve very different patients-from dignitaries at the nearby UN, to supermax prisoners from Riker's Island, to illegal immigrants, and Wall Street tycoons-to illustrate larger societal issues. Manheimer is not only the medical director of the country's oldest public hospital, but he is also a patient. As the book unfolds, the narrator is diagnosed with cancer, and he is forced to wrestle with the end of his own life even as he struggles to save the lives of others.

About the Author

p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } Eric Manheimer, MD was the medical director at Bellevue from 1997-2012 and is a Clinical Professor at the New York University School of Medicine. He is an Internist who trained at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York in Internal Medicine. Following his Chief Residency there, he moved to Hanover, New Hampshire where he was a member of Dartmouth Medical School and the Hitchcock Clinic for many years.

He has had a long interest in international health working in Haiti and Pakistan and in medical anthropology, history, the social sciences and literature particularly of Latin America. Along with his wife Diana Taylor, who is a University Professor at New York University, Eric travels extensively in Latin America and Mexico. He has two children and two grandchildren, both of whom were born at Bellevue.

Praise For Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital

For anyone seeking to understand medicine from the patient perspective, "Twelve Patients" is a must read. Dr. Manheimer eloquently describes life and experiences inside a major public hospital in twenty-first century America. Particularly poignant are the stories that highlight the complex inter-relationship between the mind and the body and how our feelings and those of our patients dramatically affect medical outcomes.

--Carol A. Bernstein, MD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry

I sat down to read this book and found myself still up at 3 in the morning unable to put it down. Manheimer has the gift of perspectives- from the body language and silences of a family hiding a violent past to the global economic and political forces gradually suffocating our ability to care for our patients. What are the ends of medicine? What are the ends of a society? These are the questions tackled here, and answered, too.

--Diane E. Meier, MD
Director, Center to Advance Palliative Care

...a look at what it means to guide an extraordinary hospital through extraordinary times.

--Perri Klass, MD, Professor of Journalism and Pediatrics, New York University, Director of Graduate Studies, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute

Medical cases are always fascinating. These reflect the lives of people whose stories are rarely told.

-- Marion Nestle PhD, MPH, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, New York University, and author of Food Politics and What to Eat, among others.

Manheimer offers far more than remarkable medical dramas: he blends each patient's personal experiences with their social implications.

--Publishers Weekly

This book is not only brilliant, it is deeply moving, and as socially and politically important as anything I have read over the past ten years. The medical literature during the past century has had a few masters of the art of communicating the current state of the art and science of medicine to the public in language that is so clear and understandable that they need no special expertise to understand it -- from Sir William Osler and Walter Cannon to Lewis Thomas and Sherwin Nuland. With this book Eric Manheimer joins their distinguished company -- and then some.
-- James F Gilligan

It is exactly the rich emotional and intellectual sweep of Twelve Patients that distinguishes this book from the usual tales of gallant doctors fighting disease, and makes it a perfect corrective for the massive denial of the urgent realities of illness and death that we all one day will face.

--Ernest Drucker

Sampling three decades of the doctor's tenure as medical director, the book offers desperate glimpses into the unfortunate lives of the sick, the injured and the dying, yet the author never relinquishes his hold on hope, however fleeting. Manheimer's unflinching reportage of his patients, the country's fractured healthcare system, irresponsible food manufacturers and hospital politics is authoritatively written.

--Kirkus Reviews

A unique foray into issues of race, poverty, immigration, politics, as they are literally inscribed into the bodies of society's most vulnerable patients.

-- Dalton Conley, PhD, author of Honky

A panoptic view of a hospital, a city, a profession.

--The New York Times

"[These] stories are as intensely involving as any scripted for a television medical drama."

- The New York Daily News

"Manheimer has range as a doctor, a writer and a social commentator. This book is tough medicine. But nothing less is apt to work when it comes to curing that which is the hardest to treat, including our torn social fabric."

--The Huffington Post

"Dr. Manheimer paints a stirring portrait of the physicians' dedication to caring for patients regardless of social standing or ability to pay."

- The Wall Street Journal