MAMA MIGHT BE BETTER OF DEAD
Author: Laurie Kaye Abraham
Back Cover Summary: This critically acclaimed book is an unsetlling, profound look at the human side of health care. Both disturbing and illuminating, it is the story of four generations of a poor African American family coping with the devastating illnesses that are too common in America's inner cities. From visits to emergency rooms to dialasys units, to trials with home care, to struggles with Medicaid elegibility, Abraham chronicles the Banes family and their access (or lack of access) to medical care. Embedded in the family narrative is a lucid analysis of the gaps, inconcistencies and inequalities the poor face when seeking health care.
Now this is not your usual fiction book. It's not fiction at all. But I read this as a sociology 'paper' and thought it might be nice to change it up a bit. For all you taking pre-requisites or majoring in Sociology--this is something you might want to read.
As for the book, Abraham portrays the health system of the late 1980's and early 1990's in a disturbing light by following the every day occurences of the Banes, a poor African American family living in the Chicago area. By doing so--we get to see firsthand how many families just like them across America have to sometimes choose between health and survival. The grandaughter, Jackie, is basically head of the household even though her husband lives with them. Robert has diabetes, something that gets so that he ends up with kidney failure and in need of a transplant. Help always seems to come too late for this family, who often don't get the treatment needed until their symptoms desperately require it. Their lack of funds don't help the situation either. Along with running the household, taking care of her three children, and husband...The added stress of figuring out how to get her Grandmother Cora to and from doctor appointments and hospital stays. (Grandma Cora has to have both legs amputated.) The author shows us how unbalanced the health system really is and how where we are financially often has more to do with the amount of resources available to us than we think.
Reading this book really got my mind thinking about how much and yet how little things have changed since that time. The way the author uses story telling makes it ideal for a quick and easy read. You don't need to know anything about the health care system or its structure to understand this book. Still, I found that though Abraham did her best to show both sides (health professionals and the poor), she did come off as a bit biast on the subject.
Would I read it again?: Probably not. It's more of a one time thing for me.
My rating: * * (2stars)