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The People's Hospital

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349143439

Price: £12.99

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How do medical staff offer care and hope to patients and families when faced with the mayhem and lottery of a broken healthcare system?

‘Terrifying, whistleblowing’ DAILY MAIL

‘Compelling… gripping’ GUARDIAN

‘Fascinating and beautifully written… reminds us what we have with our NHS – and what we stand to lose’ CHRISTIE WATSON

The People’s Hospital is the story of how Ben Taub Hospital strives to provide healthcare to Houston’s most vulnerable population, against the background of the chaos of American healthcare. By telling the frequently heartbreaking stories of patients who have had to battle their desperate financial circumstances as well as life-threatening illness – from Rogelio, a twenty-something, undocumented immigrant from Mexico recently diagnosed with kidney disease, to Roxana, a Salvadoran woman who appears in ER after a life-saving surgery resulted in her developing potentially fatal complications – and many more.

These are extraordinary stories in which doctors are tied up with complex moral questions about money versus healthcare, and patients manipulate their health conditions in dangerous ways in order to be eligible for life-saving treatment that they cannot afford.


Nuila brilliantly sets up a high-stakes narrative of life and death in a dysfunctional national healthcare system... He has written his first book with symphonic breadth and organization
Houston Chronical
Ricardo Nuila details the horrific reality of the American healthcare system from the front lines, and shows us why it doesn't have to be like that. This is America, as experienced by the many people who fall through the cracks of a corporate system readily willing to disregard them. The People's Hospital brings the experiences of the poor, undocumented and unlucky to centre stage, while forcing the reader to confront how explicitly money can be the deciding factor when it comes to saving a life
Sally Hayden, author of My Fourth Time, We Drowned
Nuila unbraids the interlocked strands of hospitals, health insurance companies, Big Pharma and profit-minded physicians, all unified in the purpose of solving sickness through the mechanism of business. He humanizes his points in meticulous and compassionate detail... A skilful writer
New York Times
Nuila practices internal medicine in Houston at Ben Taub Hospital, but the doctor's new book might take place in any big city where the uninsured - like the patients he chronicles here - face astronomical fees, mazes of endless paperwork and poor or insufficient diagnoses made by exhausted medical professionals. Nuila's storytelling gifts place him alongside colleagues like Atul Gawande
Los Angeles Times
A compelling mixture of healthcare policy and gripping stories from the frontlines of medicine
An urgent and essential call for a more humane healthcare system
Publishers Weekly
Compassionate, detailed, accessible (and yes, occasionally infuriating), Nuila's book is a wise and timely look at the failures of American medicine and a hopeful glimpse of a different way forward
Shelf Awareness (starred review)
Revelatory and often heartbreaking... Nuila is a skilled writer and shifts elegantly between these narratives and his personal story... His lyricism and empathy defy both typical medical journalism and the reduction of patient care to the management of charts and bills... A compassionate, engrossing story of frustrated hopes and unlikely victories in American health care.
Kirkus, starred review
The People's Hospital will leave you with a hope that even if our healthcare system will never become the shining beacon of equitable care all patients deserve, it ca, at least, get better
Washington Post
Like a handful of other storied public hospitals in America, Ben Taub manages to do the impossible: to provide world class care for the uninsured and indigent; train generations of physicians; pioneer medical breakthroughs; and do it at a fraction of the cost of fancier places. Nuila's lyrical and riveting prose lays bare the dysfunctional expensive quagmire that passes for our health care system. His stories of patients and those who care for them captures the miracle that is Ben Taub. The People's Hospital is a tour de force
Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
A fascinating and beautifully written memoir that reminds us what we have with our NHS - and what we stand to lose
Christie Watson
Terrifying, whistleblowing
Daily Mail
A rare and unforgettable work, The People's Hospital takes us deep into the lives of some of America's poorest patients. Following in the tradition of Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy and Atul Gawande's Being Mortal, Nuila makes a revelatory passage through a system that is both flawed and primed for reform
Andrea Elliott, author of Invisible Child