Houston Matters

How public hospitals can fill in health care gaps

A doctor at Houston’s Ben Taub Hospital makes the case in his new book chronicling patients let down by the system.


Dr. Ricardo Nuila of Baylor College of Medicine is the author of Thee People’s Hospital: Hope and Peril in American Medicine.


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A restaurant franchise manager. A young mother with a high-risk pregnancy. A college student working retail. A man on disability. A woman who's undocumented.

These five people have four key things in common: 1. They're all Houstonians. 2. They're all underinsured, uninsured, or have otherwise been let down by our health care system. 3. They all eventually end up at Ben Taub Hospital. 4. They're the subjects of a new book by a doctor who's worked there.

The author is Houston native Dr. Ricardo Nuila. His book is called The People's Hospital: Hope and Peril in American Medicine.

Nuila has been a student, resident, and now associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine. Faculty, residents, and students at the school staff Ben Taub, a public hospital operated by the Harris Health System.

In the audio above, he tells Houston Matters host Craig Cohen more about the five people profiled in his book, why he focused on them, and what they reinforce about the value public hospitals provide as a stopgap in an insurance-driven system.

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Craig Cohen

Craig Cohen

Executive Producer & Host, Houston Matters

Craig Cohen is the executive producer and host of Houston Matters, which airs weekday mornings at 9:00 on Houston Public Media, News 88.7 FM. Craig is a 20+ year veteran of broadcast journalism. He's spent the bulk of his career in public media, in roles ranging from programmer and manager,...

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