God’s Hotel: Author talk and book signing with Dr. Victoria Sweet


January 21, 2014

Contact: Michelle Jeffers
Communications, Programs & Partnerships
415 557-4282

God’s Hotel: Author talk and book signing with Dr. Victoria Sweet

Dr. Victoria Sweet, author of God’s Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine, will speak about the discoveries she made during her twenty years of serving as a doctor practicing personalized care at San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital. The event will be held on February 25 at 6:00 p.m. in the Main Library’s Koret Auditorium.

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 there.

At Laguna Honda, lower-tech but human-paced, Dr. Sweet had the chance to practice a kind of “slow medicine” that has almost vanished. Gradually, the place and its patients transformed the way she understood the body. Alongside the modern view of the body as a machine to be fixed, her patients evoked an older notion, of the body as a garden to be tended. God’s Hotel tells their stories, and the story of the hospital, which — as efficiency experts, politicians, and architects descended, determined to turn it into a modern health care facility — revealed its truths about the cost and value of caring for body and soul.

In God’s Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine Dr. Sweet lays out her evidence—in stories of her patients and her hospital—for some new ideas about medicine and healthcare in this country. God’s Hotel is San Francisco Public Library’s On the Same Page selection for January/February 2014.

Dr. Sweet is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and a prize-winning historian with a Ph.D. in history. She practiced medicine for twenty years at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco, where she began writing.

Author Talk & Booksigning:

Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Tuesday, February 25 – 6pm

For more information about this program, please call 415 557-4277.