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Sometimes Amazing Things Happen
Title : Sometimes Amazing Things Happen
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781941393437
Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272

From the Executive Director of Mental Health for Correctional Services in New York City, comes a revelatory and deeply compassionate memoir that takes readers inside Bellevue, and brings to life the world—the system, the staff, and the haunting cases—that shaped one young psychiatrist as she learned how to doctor and how to love. Elizabeth Ford went through medical schoolFrom the Executive Director of Mental Health for Correctional Services in New York City, comes a revelatory and deeply compassionate memoir that takes readers inside Bellevue, and brings to life the world—the system, the staff, and the haunting cases—that shaped one young psychiatrist as she learned how to doctor and how to love. Elizabeth Ford went through medical school unsure of where she belonged. It wasn’t until she did her psychiatry rotation that she found her calling—to care for one of the most vulnerable populations of mentally ill people, the inmates of New York's jails, including Rikers Island, w


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Sometimes Amazing Things Happen Reviews

  • Diane S ☔

    This book made me so angry, incredibly sad, appalled and disgusted with our legal system and federal government in their agregious treatment of the mentally ill. This is supposed to be one of the most advanced countries on our planet but our health care for the mentally ill has declined steadily ever since Reagan's mandates and his emptying of the institutions put in place to handle these cases. Leaving many with few options but life on the street. The author Dr. Elizabeth Ford spent many years [...]

  • Marialyce

    This was quite an interesting narrative by a doctor, Elizabeth Ford, who spent several years working on the jail impatient psychiatry service at Bellevue Hospital in New York City.Dr Ford relates her experiences with patients, who were inmates at Riker's Island prison, as well as her interactions with staff, and the families of those she treated. It takes a special kind of person to work under the situation and conditions that Dr Ford did. Oftentimes her tales were one of heartbreak, abuse, and [...]

  • Miechele

    "Sometimes Amazing Things Happen" gives us insight into the difficult challenge of caring for mentally ill patients at the crossroads of psychiatry and the criminal justice system. Dr. Ford cares for patients who are violent, developmentally delayed, and have survived harrowing abuse as children. Elizabeth Ford reveals her triumphs in improving care and helping patients. However, she does not paint herself as a hero. She looses her temper, is overcome by exhaustion, deals with fear of her patien [...]

  • Huda

    "I have come to see my success as a doctor not by how well I treat mental illness but how well I respect and honour my patients' humanity, no matter where they are or what they have done."

  • Kris

    Very few books make me want to read the hardcover edition hot off the presses. This is one of them. At once engaging and dramatic, the book delves through every emotion inmates and therapists experience, some less flattering than others, reminding the reader that Dr. Ford is at minimum honest. Her earnest desire to tell the stories of those she has come to serve, and how she managed their inevitable impact on her own life, is sincere and poignant. Surprisingly accessible, Ford's casual voice rem [...]

  • Jean Poulos

    This book covers Dr. Ford’s psychiatry rotation in medical school. She says she discovered her calling on that rotation. She went on to become Chief of Psychiatry for Correctional Health Services in New York City. She worked at Bellevue Hospital and Riker’s Island. Ford discusses the mentally ill in the jail system. She also includes personal information about the problems of balancing her professional and personal life. The book is well written and provides the reader with a good overview o [...]

  • Chrissy

    I loved this book so much, and was really disappointed when it was over. I picked it up by chance at the bookstore in the airport, and a good part of my vacation was spent devouring it during free time. I highly recommend and hope to hear more from her, and will be seeking out other books like this. Dr. Elizabeth Ford shares some of her experiences while treating Rikers Island inmates at Bellevue Hospital. She works with people charged with crimes ranging from smoking marijuana to child sexual a [...]

  • Jeanne

    A well written inside glimpse inside the prison ward at Bellevue hospital. You have to be a very remarkable person to work there.

  • Waverly Fitzgerald

    Wonderful account of what could have been a depressing subject: the treatment of mentally ill men who are imprisoned for crimes at Rikers island. But the title says it all. The author is always looking for the silver lining--how to better deliver services to these individuals in need, and she tells their stories with compassion and respect. I couldn't stop reading. it's as much a story of her career as it is of the individuals she treated, as she recounts her early experiences with the mentally [...]

  • Crekerdres

    As a Community Psychiatrist who has worked in all types of settings (including forensic), I can tell you that this book is right on. I was really moved by how similar my own experiences have been to Dr Ford's. I was thrilled to see this book get so much media attention as well.

  • Rachel Estrada

    This was interesting, but rather uneven. Reading it felt like I was skimming through a photo album, viewing the events in the moment, but with no backstory or conclusions for most of the folks pictured. The writing style was often also a little dry for me - like she was just reciting the facts.

  • Bob

    I've been interested in Bellevue after seeing Bellevue: Inside Out on HBO over fifteen years ago. The author provides a lot of stories about the patients at Bellevue and working conditions. The account of hurricane Sandy was pretty intense. I found this book to be a very interesting read.

  • Mark

    Sometimes Amazing Things Happen is an intriguing, first-hand account of working as a psychiatrist at the Bellevue Hospital Prison Ward in New York City in the early to mid-2000s. It isn't a book I would typically pick up at the library to read, but it caught my eye and I'm glad I did. Dr. Elizabeth Ford writes with clear-eyed candidness about her often harrowing and demanding job working with often dangerous inmates, who are shuffled back and forth between the Bellevue Psychiatric Ward and Riker [...]

  • Monika Sylvestre

    I leave this book with a lot of conflicting opinions about the author. Part of me has a lot of respect for what she does professionally, while another part of me considers how much time she admits to spending away from her children, and ruined holidays. I am also generally not somebody who is easily offended, but even I was bothered by how many mentions of race she used to describe the characters in the book. Examples: "Tyrone, a tall black man" "Jamal, a skinny black man" "Mara, the new Phillip [...]

  • Kara Ayala

    Very disappointing. Having a medical background myself, I expected this book to shed some interesting light on the world of inpatient psychiatric care. Instead, I struggled every day to even turn another page. It was dull, lacking purpose(s), and seemed composed of random ramblings, or "stories" by the author. Such stories were mediocre at best and failed to elicit any emotions in me, other than sheer boredom. I kept with it, hoping for some major dilemmas or revealing circumstances toward the e [...]

  • Gwen - Chew & Digest Books -

    Heartbreaking and true in my experience, although on a much larger scale than my experience with California jails. Dr. Ford is a hero in my book. Her seeming fearlessness, even though she admits at times to being afraid inside, she shows to her patients is awe-inspiring and while I would love to help, I could never do what she does, not on my best day, even if our education was equal. It also is another highlight of the cost of closing not only Mental Hospitals but the lack of funding to the sup [...]

  • Stella Fouts

    "Drive safe," he says. "I don't take his advice. I work out a way to prop one of my two cell phones on the steering wheel and type messages with my left hand while my right hand works the stick shift and fiddles with the radio for available weather reports. I toggle between my two work email accounts on one phone, looking for the latest updates, while I make calls on the other one." Really, Elizabeth Ford??? Endangering other people's lives in this way is supposed to indicate how busy/important [...]

  • Chris Burd

    If you are at all interested in the troubling reality of America's correctional systems, this is a must read. If you aren't interested, I hope you might take the time to read and realize how incredibly disturbing the reality of our prison system is. What is really interesting is that Dr. Ford does not place blame on any one place or one person. She sees the system for what it is - complex, yet so incredibly broken. She addresses only the mental health needs, where she is, quite frankly, the coun [...]

  • Daniel Mala

    Interesting, insightful and close to home. Caring for mental health patients in the prison system presents challenges that likely surpass the more challenging patients I see in the ED. However I could relate to the changes and advances in psychiatric care over the same time period. This book illuminates the passion it takes to make a difference and the systemic failures that often times does little more then needlessly hinder progress in caring for mentally ill patients. There is also a great de [...]

  • Vzenari

    This book reveals some of what happens in a prison psychiatric ward. It is episodic, so it does not have a narrative per se, and thus it skips along from episode to episode with minimal continuity. It isn’t meaty, but it does give a taste of the sense of panic and frustration experienced by staff and patients, and it certainly points out the strengths and weaknesses of a particular criminal justice system in a particular place: the hellish Rikers Island. Those who saw the HBO miniseries The Ni [...]

  • Nancy

    Dr. Ford's memoir of her time in the Bellevue Hospital Psychiatric Prison Ward is interesting and informative. It is also pretty depressing. I wish Dr. Ford had included more about what pulled her to this type of psychiatry. The goal seems so bleak. Get the patients stabilized so they can return to jail on Rikers Island. Considering the amount of staffing (doctors, nurses, techs, aids, guards, police) this must be incredibly expensive to run which keeps the number of beds to a minimum. Only the [...]

  • Lena Ailshire

    This personal stories that Dr Ford shares bring a sense of humanity to the people we so often exclude from the thought. The struggles she faces as a woman, mother, doctor, wife, etc are recorded alongside the years she spends on floor 19 of Bellevue- home to the mentally ill inmates of Riker's Island jail. The eyeopening way that she transports us to this reality is both incredibly humbling and shocking. Highly recommend for people interested in how our justice system constantly works, and all t [...]

  • Lisa

    I am a therapist and have worked in a psych hospital before and I currently work in a jail. I was really looking forward to reading this book. On page 45 I read: "'That's OK, Kareem,' I protest, uninterested in touching those pages with my bare hands." Seriously?!?! That is what soap and water is for!! This is the first example that shows she's not meant to work with psych patients. So rude of her to even think this thought. Page 101: "I cry most nights recalling the stories I hear all day of pa [...]

  • Steph Romm

    A fascinating read about the intricacies of working in mental health services, with the added challenge of having incarcerated patients.Dr. Ford does an admirable job of preserving the humanity of even the most overlooked and discarded members of society and the surprising and uplifting power of their successes, without shying away from the hard realities of the failures.Definitely worth a read if you enjoy non-fiction!

  • Nancy Gacek

    I expected more insight into what makes a difference in taking care of psychiatric patients in prison. Most stories seemed to have no happy ending and a lot of her stories were too similar. A lot of amazing things didn't happen.Interesting to see the struggle between the dept of corrections, psychiatrists, prison, and the court system. A frustrating system more inclined towards incarceration instead of redemption and help.

  • Lisa

    Dr. Ford tells the stories of the men she treats with compassion, helping us to understand this thrown away group of human beings. She includes her own experience in a humble, sobering way. And she is inspiring in her commitment and call to this tough work. As one who has been on the periphery of this in the juvenile incarceration system I resonated to the challenges she faces from every side and admire her perseverance. Inspiring. Informative. Did I say inspiring?

  • D.S.

    This book sheds light on what most of us would rather not see. I saw Trevor Noah interview the author on The Daily Show not too long ago. It was his recommendation that motivated me to read it. The author's emotional honesty and humility are rare, engaging the reader on a deeper level about the nature of humanity.I encourage anyone who is moved by this book to also watch the recent documentary, "13th" to get another essential piece of the big picture.

  • Rachel

    Listened via Audible. Recollection and exploration of the criminalization of mental illness, and how difficult it is to treat incarcerated patients suffering from a variety of issues such as schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and more, who are barely seen as human and certainly not treated that way very often. Jails are becoming the largest providers of psychiatric care in this country, signaling a massive failure of American values both in morals and in healthcare.

  • Christine

    An intriguing, emotional look at mental healthcare for the most desperateDr. Ford give us just a glance at the working of Bellevue hospital and Rikers Island, and the care they try to provide those individuals most desperately in need of mental healthcare. The challenges are immense. Dr. Ford's stories are both inspiring and frustrating as she struggles to provide care within the bounds of an imperfect and sometimes failing system. This was a fascinating read.

  • Abbi Waugh

    This book is an honest and illuminating look at the challenges and rewards of treating the mentally ill in the criminal justice system. Ford does a beautiful job of showing the humanity of her patients. It makes me hopeful for this country to know that there are psychiatrists so dedicated to helping people, even those that are considered "less than" by society.