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Short Synopsis
Both disturbing and illuminating, Mama Might Be Better Off Dead is an unsettling, profound look at the human face of health care in America.

Full Synopsis
North Lawndale, a neighborhood that lies in the shadows of Chicago's Loop, is surrounded by some of the city's finest medical facilities, Yet, it is one of the sickest, most medically underserved communities in the country.

Mama Might Be Better Off Dead immerses listeners in the lives of four generations of a poor, African-American family in the neighborhood, who are beset with the devastating illnesses that are all too common in America's inner-cities. Headed by Jackie Banes, who oversees the care of a diabetic grandmother, a husband on kidney dialysis, an ailing father, and three children, the Banes family contends with countless medical crises. From visits to emergency rooms and dialysis units, to trials with home care, to struggles for Medicaid eligibility, Laurie Kaye Abraham chronicles their access—or more often, lack thereof—to medical care. Their story reveals an inadequate health care system that is further undermined by the direct and indirect effects of poverty.

Both disturbing and illuminating, Mama Might Be Better Off Dead is an unsettling, profound look at the human face of health care in America. Published to great acclaim in 1993, the book in this new edition includes an incisive foreword by David Ansell, a physician who worked at Mt. Sinai Hospital, where much of the Banes family's narrative unfolds.

Mama Might Be Better Off Dead

The Failure of Health Care in Urban America

Author Laurie Kaye Abraham

Narrated by Lisa Reneé Pitts

Publication date Dec 21, 2021

Running time 14 hrs 27 min

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