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The Least of These My Brethren: A Doctor's…

The Least of These My Brethren: A Doctor's Story of Hope and Miracles on…

by Daniel Baxter

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0517706997, Hardcover)

In the decade and a half that AIDS has been with us, Americans' attitudes about the disease and those afflicted with it have largely been shaped by films such as An Early Frost and Longtime Companion, the plays The Normal Heart and Angels in America, and the overwhelming symbolism of the AIDS quilt. For the most part, these expressions of popular culture focus on a fraction of the AIDS population, those sufferers who are easiest for mainstream Americans to identify with. Dr. Daniel Baxter puts a new face on the AIDS crisis in The Least of These My Brethren, a chronicle of the years he spent treating patients at the Spellman Center for H.I.V.-Related Diseases at St. Clare's Hospital in downtown Manhattan.

Baxter's patients are drug addicts, prisoners, and prostitutes, people with already broken lives for whom AIDS is just one more trouble to add to the list. There is nothing noble or cinematic about these victims. As they file through the halls and wards of the Spellman Center, Baxter describes their ailments that: AIDS-related lymphoma, rectal bleeding, tuberculosis, and much, much more. Baxter notes in his preface that "We are all ultimately H.I.V. positive in this cumbersome experience called life;" in other words, death is our common fate, the experience that unites even the most disparate individuals. In this shared inevitability, even the most fortunate among us can find empathy for the least.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:21 -0400)

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