NR Digital

City Desk

Take Care

by Richard Brookhiser

You can write about hospitals all the time, since they will take us all in the end.

Hospitals are institutions, with their own history and demography. The ground floors of the great teaching hospitals of the city have dark and disused shrines — niches hung with the portraits of their WASP overseers of old, in whiskers and stiff collars. At the fin of the last siècle, the portraits and chiseled names of the benefactors were all Jews. Passing donor, stop and see / What I am now, so you shall be. Jewish is also the ethnicity of most of the doctors who are not Chinese. The nurses and the kitchen and custodial staffs represent the islands; on a recent visit I met three women named Althea: not as popular a first name as Britney or Tiffany here, but big in Jamaica.

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