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Ask Me Why I Hurt: The Kids Nobody Wants and…
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Ask Me Why I Hurt: The Kids Nobody Wants and the Doctor Who Heals Them

by Randy Christensen M.D.

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I won this book from Goodreads First Reads, February 20th, 2011. To see my review:http://bookvacations.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/ask-me-why-i-hurt-the-kids-nobody-wants-and-the-doctor-who-heals-them-by-randy-christensen-m-d/ ( )
  ABookVacation | Nov 12, 2011 |
I like this book. It inspired me! It also broke my heart. Randy Christensen’s Memoir will make you look at yourself and wonder what you can do. He starts up a mobile medical clinic. He helps homeless youth. It opened my eyes to homeless youth out there. It also pointed out the red tape this had to go through to continue on. This is an easy read. I would recommend this book especially for those you like non fiction biographies and memoirs. I give it 4 stars. ( )
  themiraclesnook | Aug 15, 2011 |
I picked up this book expecting a narrative about the shortcomings of our health care system and how one man tried to help an often-overlooked demographic. This accounts for roughly half of what is included in this narrative. The other half is a lot of self indulgent details about the strain Dr. Christensen's work put on his marriage (marginally relevant) and his wife's difficulty with pregnancies (completely irrelevant). The stories about the homeless kids are truly moving, but it's really not worth wading through the personal stuff if you are looking for a book about health care. ( )
  rdingizsxy | Jul 16, 2011 |
Dr. Christensen was 34 when he started the mobile medical unit in Arizona to help homeless youth. The hospital on wheels, actually a van that needed more than a little tweaking to work, was donated, but getting it functioning and stocked was an exercise in patience. Luckily he had great people on his side, including Jan Putman, a no nonsense nurse-practitioner, and his wife Amy, also a doctor, who understood him putting in long hours. Ask Me Why I Hurt chronicles the beginning of the mobile medical clinic, the kids they saw over those first years, and how working with them affected his family life.

Try to imagine being dropped off on the street as a teenager. You have no money, no place to live, no job, and no way of getting help because you don’t have a valid ID to prove who you are. Now add on lack of coping skills because of childhood abuse or trauma. You are sick because you ate food people threw away; you are exposed to the elements, and exploited by mean people who prey on kids like you. You have been injured and beat-up and you need to see a doctor, but you don’t have health insurance and the county medical services can’t help you without an ID and some type of contact number or address.
This is reality for thousands of kids in every State. Some of these kids ran from abusive homes, some have mental illness, some have lost their parents, some are struggling with addiction and some have aged out of foster care. They don’t have family to count on, they don’t have a support network or mentors and they don’t have a voice in our political process. You may not see them in your neighborhood or you may not recognize that they are homeless, but they are out there hurting. We may not be doctors that can physically heal them, and yet we can do our part. They need us, especially our voices and votes for compassionate change.

I couldn’t put this book down, the stories of the young men and women jumped off the page, and so did the stories of Dr. Christensen’s fellow workers and his family. The chronicle of Nicole really touched me; a beautiful homeless young woman with mental illness languishing on the streets year after year not getting the help or the medications she needed to become whole, made me weep. The courage of these kids, even when everything was against their survival, gave me hope.

I didn’t know anything about Dr. Christensen before receiving this book through the Amazon Vine program. I hope he’ll continue to publish more about his work with the homeless youth. ( )
2 vote PamelaBarrett | Jun 2, 2011 |
Christiansen's memoir of creating a mobile healthcare service for homeless teenagers is both inspiring and heartbreaking. Dr. Christiansen gave up his hospital appointment to transform an old RV into a mobile clinic. He discovers that there is tremendous demand for his services, and that America's homeless teenagers face multiple and complicated problems.

What is particularly striking is just how tragic the stories of Christiansen's patients are. The majority are homeless because they have run away from abuse. Most have weathered horrible situations. One of his patients lives in a hole in the desert. These children don't just need medical care, they also need attention, compassion, and a competent adult to pay attention to them.

This book highlights the difficulties of providing care to this population. It is nearly impossible to get these children enrolled to receive benefits, as such things require identification and parental help. Likewise, it is prohibitively expensive for Christiansen to stock drugs, but it is generally impossible for homeless teenagers to fill prescriptions, especially regular prescriptions for chronic conditions. The problems that are regularly recognized in the American medical system are magnified for Christiansen.

This book is also something of a personal memoir, as Christiansen is trying to start a family at the same time that he is beginning his work with the mobile clinic. I found the personal memoir to be much less engaging than the professional. Ultimately I left this book inspired by what Christiansen has managed to do, and terribly depressed by the extent of the problems. ( )
2 vote lahochstetler | May 14, 2011 |
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The touching and revealing first-person account of the remarkable work of Dr. Randy Christensen. Trained as a pediatrician, he works not in a typical hospital setting but, rather, in a 38-foot Winnebago that has been refitted as a doctor's office on wheels. His patients are homeless adolescents and children living on the outskirts of Phoenix.… (more)

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