God's Hotel: a Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine
August 4, 2013•15 min
San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital is the last almshouse in the country, a descendant of the Hotel-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. Dr. Victoria Sweet ended up there herself, as a physician. And though she came for only a two-month stay, she remained for twenty years.
God's Hotel tells the story of a 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.