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Bellevue Hospital: Three Centuries of Medicine & Mayhem


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Bellevue is deeply ingrained in our popular culture as a warren of mangled crime victims, lunatics, and derelicts, along with celebrity patients. It also is a place of stunning medical innovation. Above all, however, Bellevue has been the hospital for the poor and the under-served, especially immigrants. Its ethos over three centuries remains unchanged: No one is turned away.

David Oshinsky graduated from Cornell in 1965 and obtained his PhD from Brandeis University in 1971. He won the annual Pulitzer Prize in History, for his 2005 book, Polio: An American Story, which influenced Bill Gates to make polio eradication the top priority of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Oshinsky’s other books include the D.B. Hardeman Prize-winning A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy, and Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice, which won the Robert F. Kennedy Award for its distinguished contribution to human rights. His articles and reviews appear regularly in the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.