Public Health: Gore and Glory

November 16, 2016

(Nature) – To many Americans, the name Bellevue signifies ‘psychiatric facility’ as much as Bedlam does to Britons. The psychiatric unit of the New York City public hospital gained fame from the stream of cultural icons passing through its portals. Writer Delmore Schwartz arrived in handcuffs after trying to strangle a hostile book reviewer; jazz great Charles Mingus checked in voluntarily, later composing the song Lock ‘Em Up (Hellview of Bellevue). Yet, as historian David Oshinsky shows in his sweeping, eponymous chronicle, this oldest, busiest, most storied of New York hospitals deserves equal recognition as a fount of medical discovery.

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