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Twelve Patients: A Tribute to HHC

 Dr. Eric Manheimer
Dr. Eric Manheimer

Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital is Dr. Eric Manheimer’s tribute to the patients and the dedicated physicians, nurses, social workers and support staff he worked with during his 15 years as Medical Director at Bellevue Hospital Center.

“The book is a celebration of the public hospital system in taking care of complex, interesting, social, political and economic issues,” said Dr. Manheimer, who was the Medical Director at Bellevue from 1997-2012 and is now a Clinical Professor at the New York University School of Medicine. “It is a work of deep caring and love for the patients, the doctors and the system.”

The candid and complicated lives and healthcare challenges facing 12 patients, whose names were changed for the book, are detailed in each chapter and represent the true diversity of the individuals who depend on HHC for much more than healthcare. The 12 patients featured include an undocumented immigrant dying of cancer, a wealthy financier addicted to drugs and alcohol, and a teenage foster child who faced years of sexual abuse. All the stories are equally compelling. But perhaps Chapter 3 is one of the most emotional as Manheimer documents his personal experience as a patient when he faced cancer.

The stories delve into the multiple ways Bellevue staff – and by extension, all staff at HHC – often go above and beyond the call of duty to help some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers find dignity, get back to good health, or in some cases, die a good death.

“I really thought I knew Eric pretty well,” Dr. Edward Fishkin, Medical Director at Woodhull Medical Center, who was one of Manheimer’s interns 34 years ago. “What I didn’t know until I read the book was that he could write a love story. This is Eric’s love affair with science and the practice of medicine, his patients and their families, and the incredibly dedicated staff.”

Read the New York Times story: Tales of Pain and Healing, From a Physician Who Knows Both.


August 2012

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