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Living and Dying in Brick City: Stories from the Front Lines of an Inner-City E.R.

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  500 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
A riveting personal exploration of the healthcare crisis facing inner-city communities, written by an emergency room physician who grew up in the very neighborhood he is now serving
Sampson Davis is best known as one of three friends from inner-city Newark who made a pact in high school to become doctors. Their book "The Pact" and their work through the Three Doctors Foun
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Spiegel & Grau (first published February 5th 2013)
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Jan 19, 2015 Morgan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Living And Dying In Brick City is a nonfictional novel about a young boy who did not grow up as fortunate as others, in which his environment reflects. Against all odds he makes it to the big leagues and exceeds all limitations set for his future. As he struggled at a younger age with the pressure and temptation of drugs and alcohol, he managed to successfully make it out of "Brick City", unlike many of his friends and achieve dreams he never imagined possible. I found this book quite compelling ...more
Nandi Crawford
I have read Dr Davis' book which was cowritten with the other two men who he went through college and medical school with and became The Pact. I also read their followup book, so was glad to see this book out by one of the author's and real glad to know that he is still doing great works in the same city that he was born and bred and moving on with his life in a more positive direction. this book discusses his work as an Emergency Room Doctor at the various hospitals he has worked at, and his ex ...more
Kathy Eich
Jan 02, 2016 Kathy Eich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a powerful read. It wasn't merely that Dr. Davis succeeded against all odds that made the books point. It was also that he returned to his hometown with new eyes and a clearer understanding of the consequences of poverty, abuse, and hopelessness. His personal story is punctuated by the story of those in his hometown who struggle for balance and wellness in life. People he grew up with die in his emergency room, and his personal history as a criminal allows him to see himself in their ey ...more
Tanya W
Nov 10, 2014 Tanya W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Very interesting book that kept me very interested throughout. Most of the chapters made me cry. The book is about the afflictions of a poor inner city documented by an ER doctor who grew up in the area and was fortunate enough to take a different path.

Those afflicted are mainly poor black people who in many cases are suffering because of poor traditions and bad decisions, which results in problems like drug abuse, STD's, obesity, gang violence, and so forth (often leading to premature death rat
Feb 16, 2014 Lori rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
I was a goodreads first reads winner of the book"Living and Dying in Brick City.Stories from the Front Lines of an Inner-City E.R." Dr.Sampson Davis wrote this memoir of the few years he spent working in the E.R. at Beth Isreal hospital in Newark New Jersey.
Dr.Davis saw a lot of cases many tragic. He writes of treating patients he went to high school with who come in with gun shot wounds. Working in an inner-city hospital there are a lot of patients coming in with wounds dealing with violence.
Author Sampson Davis grew up in Newark, NJ (aka Brick City) and later worked as a physician in the ER of one of the hospitals in Newark.
Davis weaves together stories of people that seek care in the hospital, his own life growing up in a less than ideal home, and facts about various diseases.
Davis stories helped me to better understand why many people from the inner city become trapped in self-defeating behaviors.

Kent District Library
Join us for a friendly informal book discussion. This month's selection is "Living and Dying in Brick City" by Sampson Davis. For adults. Discussion will take place at Kent District Library's
Wyoming Branch on April 21, 2015 from 7-8 pm.
Jacqueline Gray
Feb 12, 2016 Jacqueline Gray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I applaud Doctor Davis on his book, but not only for the book sake but also for the works he have done over the years working with the youths of the various communities, the program he and his friends started, giving back from the little they had is very admirable.

I loved the fact that he did not just leave the readers to get information about the various illnesses and abuse centers, he gave meaning of the diseases and their signs and symptoms and where to go to get help with them. For abuse of
Melissa Lindsey
Jul 07, 2015 Melissa Lindsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great read (or in my case, listen) for those who are interested in systemic, public health care issues faced by those who reside in our inner city neighborhoods. Through compassionate storytelling, David provides a compelling case for Americans to take a closer look at the disparity in health care that is evident in our society. Each chapter is dedicated to a different public health care issue. Gun violence, drug addiction, HIV, STDs, and diabetes are just some of the serious issues he ...more
I won this book from the Goodreads giveaways thanks to RANDOM HOUSE PUBLISHING. Thank you so much for choosing me.

Living and Dying in Brick City takes you out of your comfort zone. I grew up in SE Iowa, a very quiet and safe part of the Midwest. We played outside until well after dark and our parents never worried about us or where we were. Not so in Newark New Jersey also known as Brick City, where drugs, prostitution, gangs and shootings are more the norm, than front page news, as they would
I bought this book with the intention of using it in my AP Language and Comp class. In addition to a plethora of novels, articles, and essays they read as a class, students also have to pick two works of non-fiction they find compelling and read them. One they annotate and one they use as part of a study of the bias in non-fiction.

I thought this particular book might appeal to my students because I always have a few who are interested in medicine. Not to mention, that I find the health care sit
First off, I have to say that I hate people who damage an audio book from the library and then don't admit to it when they turn it in. That's super rude. The library isn't going to yell at you or likely even make you pay for it if you're apologetic and kind. But you will ruin it for the next person! As you can surmise, I did miss chunks of this audiobook due to skipping, but I pushed through as it was only 2 out of 7 discs that were damaged.

Dr. Davis and two friend previously wrote The Pact (whi
Feb 09, 2016 Karin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very easy to read book about an ER doctor who grew up in Newark and pushed himself to get where he is today. This book is meant to be an educational read on urban public health issues, for people who are living this reality, so each chapter is about something particular that affects urban or African-American residents. It's shown through the lens of his personal experience, plus lots of statistics and resources as well. It's pretty sad, but hopeful, and I tore right through it.

If you like medic
Kim Shively
The individual stories are intriguing, and the book was a fast, absorbing read. But the whole thing comes across like some well-meaning afterschool special. Life sucks in Newark, but the author doesn't really talk about why life sucks there. It's just up to people in the Newark projects to get their acts together and get out. There's nothing wrong with looking at individual culpability, but this is part of that mentality that poor people just need superpowers and everything will be OK. The rest ...more
May 23, 2014 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health, memoir
I was inspired by Sampson Davis' story. He and two friends made a pact to become physicians and beat the odds of ending up as gang members. The book is part memoir part public health pamphlet. Interspersed in his telling of how he and his friends grew up in Newark, NJ and how a youthful brush with the law altered their focus from a life of crime to a life of purpose. Most of the book is about Davis's return to Newark working as an Emergency Department physician at the hospital in the neighborhoo ...more
Apr 23, 2014 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: potential medical school students
Very good book on an African American Doctor's stories from his hometown hospital....where he was born and later served at as a resident and early years as a doctor. He not only shares stories of his own life, but also of fellow African Americans and the struggles they have in the inner city such as Newark and other New Jersey cities. Included after certain chapters are places one could call or websites to check out if they are experiencing the certain problem talked about there.

A good book for
Feb 13, 2014 Colleen rated it really liked it
I received this book free from a Goodreads give-away. I really liked this book. I'm always impressed by those stories of people who rise above their circumstances. I think this is a book that will inspire a lot of kids who think they can't do it. I found Dr. Davis to be very open and honest about his circumstances and how he could have gone down the wrong road without help from people who cared. Dr. Davis is to be admired for his efforts in the community and wanting to stay help the people he wa ...more
Feb 24, 2014 Aviv rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Dr. Davis's book is a wonderful journey through medicine. Skillfully mixing patient stories with his own personal experiences, he weaves in and out between the story of his growing up and becoming a doctor and the stories of those whose lives he touched in the ER at Beth Israel. He also quite successfully elevated his book from just another memoir about life in the ER to that of a shout out and wake up call for the nation to come to terms with the various health crises that are overburdening our ...more
Tony Alexander
Jan 23, 2016 Tony Alexander rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inspiration comes in many forms and in this particular book it came in 3. #Determination #Dedication #Discipline. This book helps to solidify how choices we make impact our lives whether they are positive or negative. Dr. Davis was able to pinpoint the pivotal moment in his life that helped to define his future and what he expected out of life and deserved out of life. Dr. Davis takes you on his own personal journeys of self-reflection of his encounters with patients and the choices they made an ...more
I both live in Newark and have been to Newark Beth Israel Hospital - the hospital featured in this books - multiple times, most notably for the birth of my daughter...which was an utter nightmare and should probably be the subject of a book in itself ;o)

I also once knew someone who was a doctor in this same hospital, so when I spotted this recently, I was very interested in reading an account of another doctor's experience there. I used to get that all the time from my old friend, but I welcome
Mar 25, 2014 Julie rated it liked it
This book was won through Goodreads first read!

This book was an easy read. Davis does a great job making sure that the audience understands what he is talking about when referring to the medical jargon. He also makes it his mission to make the reader aware of the crisis seen in specific communities, populations, and cultures. While I didn't necessarily fit the target demographics of the book, I still found it interesting and thought provoking. I especially liked that at the end of the chapter, w
K. Bird
Mar 19, 2013 K. Bird rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think all of us harbor an intense curiosity about the author of this book; what makes him different from the brothers who get involved in drugs? What helped him get out of the poverty and become a doctor?

I don't envy him his position, although I am impressed by his drive, ambition, and caring.

What emerges from the pages of this book is the portrait of Dr. Davis as a young man with intense energy. At one point he describes partying it up in New York every night while maintaining the grueling sc
This book is clarly aimed to the people he is talking about. The reading level is about 8th grade. Most chapters are about a problem affecting poor and working class black and Latino communties and the chapter ends with a page or two offering advice or futher resources on the topic.

This can also make the book feel monotonous and hopeless. Bad sutff happening to poor people and this doctor is left wishing that he could do more. There are no positive stories of people who quit stuff, changing the
Apr 22, 2013 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sampson Davis should not just be a role model for poor inner city students and fellow medical personnel, but also for everyone else in the US. While Sampson's personal story from a poor child in a troubled home in the ghetto through medical school to his position as an ER doctor is miraculous, his devotion to helping people in his old neighborhood is inspirational. In his book, Living and Dying in Brick City, Sampson discusses the challenges facing the inner city interspersed with stories from h ...more
Sharon Mcalister
This book is an excellent, highly inspirational memoir. It is the story of Dr. Sampson Davis of Newark, New Jersey. Dr. Davis comes back to Newark to
do his residency in emergency medicine at Beth Israel Hospital. The Beth, as it is known, is the hospital where Dr. Davis was born and brought to for
childhood emergencies. While serving his residency there, he encounters several friends from his past whose health has been compromised by the dangers inherent in living in the poor, drug and violence i
Sampson Davis is the epitome of a public servant. He has taken his medical practice to his own neighborhood where the effects of health disparities and cultural prejudices abound. In an age where cultural sensitivity and ethics are projected across corporate board rooms and classrooms, Davis,M.D., gives us a first hand account of life among minority populations. He illustrates how our limited understanding affects people who seek our help. As a health care provider, I would imagine Dr. Sampson d ...more
Mar 15, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This engrossing book is a memoir of the internship, residency, and early years of practice of Dr. Sampson Davis, one of three young African-American men who made a pact (the subject of an earlier book) that they would all become doctors. Dr. Davis returned to his home town of Newark, New Jersey, nicknamed "brick City," to train as an E.R. doctor at Beth Israel Medical Center where he was born and near where he had grown up in a tough, impoverished inner-city neighborhood where youngsters more of ...more
Part memoir, part resource guide, part political commentary and a lot of hope. The author, Dr. Davis, introduces struggles of an urban community through his work as an ER doctor in the area he grew up in. Most chapters highlight some challenge within the community such as violence or drugs, or health problems like obesity or smoking, as patients come through the ER. While describing a patient he is treating, he reflects on the challenges that he and his community have faced with that same issue. ...more
John Wood
Feb 12, 2013 John Wood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Sampson Davis could very easily have gone the other way. Fortunately, he overcame the bad influences he encountered on the tough streets of Newark and became a doctor. Instead of turning his back on his past he ultimately ended up working in the emergency room in his old neighborhood. His explanations of what he encounters in doing his job are informative and often graphic examples of inner city life. He also includes a lot of informative and helpful medical material from several sources. Althou ...more
Krista Stevens
This book follows "The Pact" and delves deeper into Sam's circular journey from growing up on the violent streets of Newark, NJ to becoming an ER doctor at the hospital he once frequented as a child.

Easier to follow than the pact - only one point of view. Each chapter focuses on a public health issue that plagues inner city inhabitants by recounting both hospital and personal anecdotes.
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Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt are practicing physicians, authors and the founders of The Three Doctors Foundation."
More about Sampson Davis...

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