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

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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 Foundation have inspired countless young men and women to strive for goals they otherwise would not have dreamed they could attain. In this book, Dr. Davis looks at the healthcare crisis in the inner city from a rare perspective: as a doctor who works on the front line of emergency medical care in the community where he grew up, and as a member of that community who has faced the same challenges as the people he treats every day. He also offers invaluable practical advice for those living in such communities, where conditions like asthma, heart disease, stroke, obesity, and AIDS are disproportionately endemic.
Dr. Davis’s sister, a drug addict, died of AIDS; his brother is now paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair as a result of a bar fight; and he himself did time in juvenile detention—a wake-up call that changed his life. He recounts recognizing a young man who is brought to the E.R. with critical gunshot wounds as someone who was arrested with him when he was a teenager during a robbery gone bad; describes a patient whose case of sickle-cell anemia rouses an ethical dilemma; and explains the difficulty he has convincing his landlord and friend, an older woman, to go to the hospital for much-needed treatment. With empathy and hard-earned wisdom, Living and Dying in Brick City presents an urgent picture of medical care in our cities. It is an important resource guide for anyone at risk, anyone close to those at risk, and anyone who cares about the fate of our cities.
Praise for Living and Dying in Brick City
“A pull-no-punches look at health care from a seldom-heard sector . . . Living and Dying isn’t a sky-is-falling chronicle. It’s a real, gutsy view of a city hospital.”Essence
“Gripping . . . a prescription to help kids dream bigger than their circumstances, from someone who really knows.”People
“[Dr. Davis] is really a local hero. His story has inspired so many of our young people, and he’s got his finger on the pulse of what is a challenge in Newark, and frankly all across America. . . . I think his book is going to make a big impact.”—Cory Booker

“Some memoirs are heartfelt, some are informative and some are even important. Few, however, are all three. . . . As rare as it is for a book to be heartfelt, well written and inspirational, it’s even rarer for a critic to say that a book should be required reading. This ought to be included in high school curricula—for the kids in the suburbs who have no idea what life is like in the inner cities, and for the kids in the inner cities to know that there is a way out.”—The Star-Ledger
“Dramatic and powerful.”—New York Daily News

“This book just might save your life. Sampson Davis shares fascinating stories from the E.R. and addresses the inner-city health crisis. His book is an important investment in your most valuable resource: your health.”—Suze Orman, author of The Money Class
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About the author

Sampson Davis was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. He is a board certified emergency medicine physician and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Pact, We Beat the Street, and The Bond. He is the youngest physician to receive the National Medical Association’s highest honor, the Scroll of Merit. He is a recipient of Essence and BET humanitarian awards and was named by Essence as one of the forty most inspirational African Americans. He is a founder of the Three Doctors Foundation and practices medicine in New Jersey.
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Additional Information

Spiegel & Grau
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Published on
Feb 12, 2013
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Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Medical / Emergency Medicine
Social Science / Sociology / Urban
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In The Devil in the White City, the smoke, romance, and mystery of the Gilded Age come alive as never before.

Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair’s brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his “World’s Fair Hotel” just west of the fairgrounds—a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium.

Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake.

The Devil in the White City draws the reader into a time of magic and majesty, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others. Erik Larson’s gifts as a storyteller are magnificently displayed in this rich narrative of the master builder, the killer, and the great fair that obsessed them both.

To find out more about this book, go to
“Sampson and Sharlee’s message of the power of positivity, hard work, and resilience is one that we need to hear right now.” —Chris Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling The Pursuit of Happyness

Everyone has difficult moments in life. But everyone also has the Stuff to overcome hardships, to survive and thrive.

Learn how to better access and hone the eleven core elements of the Stuff and be inspired by the real-world stories of triumph in this practical book by New York Times bestselling author Dr. Sampson Davis (The Pact, Living and Dying in Brick City) and Sharlee Jeter (Turn 2 Foundation).

Everyone has those moments in life when they’re truly tested, when they wonder if they have the strength to overcome the challenges before them. We’ve all heard stories of people who have risen up in the face of the unimaginable. But not everyone believes that they have what it takes to do the same.

However, what we need to realize our own potential—to fight for what we want our lives to be—already resides within each of us. You already have the Stuff. Learning how to develop and harness it is the key.

Survivors themselves, Dr. Sampson Davis and Sharlee Jeter have created The Stuff Movement, interviewing dozens of people to find the common threads that enabled them to triumph over their challenges. Through the powerful stories of people who overcame cancer, poverty, toxic relationships, racism, violence, career roadblocks, and other obstacles big and small—The Stuff highlights eleven core elements that will help you not only survive but thrive in spite of life’s difficulties. These elements are as easy to understand as they are to enact—presented in plain talk, without judgment, and with compassion for the everyday challenges people face.

As Dr. Davis and Sharlee share stories of the amazing people who’ve shown their Stuff, you’ll find that unearthing the same Stuff within yourself is a process as rewarding as it is important—and you’ll never say you can’t do it again.

Read the book, and join the conversation at

Featuring stories about John O’Leary (On Fire), Mercy Alexander, Rich Ruffalo, Mindee Hardin, Glenn and Cara O’Neill, Sean Swarner, Traci Micheline, Wess Stafford (Too Small to Ignore), Austin Hatch, Debra Peppers, Christine Magnus Moore, Martha Hawkins, Ali Stroker (Glee), Susan Scott Krabacher, Deval Patrick, and more.
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