August 2011

Laguna Honda Hospital
God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage
to the Heart of Medicine

by Patrick Monette-Shaw

Riverhead Books — a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. — lists in its Riverhead, Winter 2012 catalog for booksellers, a new book of essays by former Laguna Honda Hospital physician Victoria Sweet, MD, PhD.

Sweet’s new book, God’s Hotel:  A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine, will be published in April 2012.  The publisher’s review of the book on pages 23 and 24 of Riverhead’s catalog reads, in part:

God’s Hotel tells their [Laguna Honda’s patients] story, and the story of the hospital itself, which — as efficiency experts, politicians, and architects descended, determined to turn it into a modern ‘health care facility’ — revealed its own surprising truths about the essence, cost, and value of caring for body and soul.”

A sample essay from the book, The Patients at God’s Hotel, is on page 37 of the catalog.

Sweet was a physician at Laguna Honda for twenty years, and is an associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.  Beyond physician and educator, she served on Laguna Honda’s Bioethics Committee for a number of years, considered by many to be one of the hospital’s most widely-respected physicians.

An excellent and moving essay by Dr. Sweet regarding Laguna Honda Hospital’s hospice¹, Code Pearl, is available on-lineCode Pearl was published in Health Affairs, a monthly publication by Project HOPE, the People-to-People Health Foundation, in its January–February 2008 issue.

The imagery Sweet evokes is breathtaking, illuminating rapport with both the patients of, and her co-workers at, Laguna Honda.  As only a physician specializing in internal medicine who also holds a PhD in history and social medicine might, Sweet’s essays reveal true selves, ours meeting hers.

Along the way, she imparts insights in ethics.

As book reviews of God’s Hotel, interviews with its author, or a schedule of book launch local events become available in the Spring, will be updated with additional information and links.

God’s Hotel can be pre-ordered now from for release-date delivery.

Patrick Monette-Shaw is an open government accountability advocate, a patient advocate and a member of California’s First Amendment Coalition.

¹ Laguna Honda’s hospice was an award-winning program built and nurtured by Dr. Derek Kerr, another former Laguna Honda physician for over 20 years, before he was wrongfully terminated for blowing the whistle on abuse of Laguna Honda Hospital’s patient gift fund and other financial improprieties within San Francisco’s Department of Public Health.


Copyright (c) 2011 by Committee to Save LHH.  All rights reserved.  This work may not be reposted anywhere on the Web, or reprinted in any print media, without express written permission.  E-mail the
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