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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
In Caught in the Crosshairs of American Healthcare, author Dr. Lloyd Sederer recounted McLean Hospital's transformation in the late 1980s and early 1990s, addressing financial strains and outdated practices. His leadership drove changes in admissions, care methods, and cost-saving measures, stabilizing McLean. Implementing innovations like performance reports and patient-centered tools, he aimed for transparency and better care. Championing reduced restraints and medications while focusing on community-based living despite higher readmission rates, Sederer's influence extended to national mental health care standards. Reflecting on his tenure's impact, he homes in on the balance between necessary care and avoiding prolonged hospital stays. Transitioning from McLean to the APA, he embraced change, likening himself to an evolving actor on a shifting stage, finding comfort in the cyclical nature of exploration and new beginnings.
There are two things that really stood out to me in Caught in the Crosshairs of American Healthcare by Lloyd Sederer, and both are evidence of the quality of Sederer's work both in the hospital and on the page. The first is that, in a time when we are learning more about the imbalance of care for people of color, Dr. Sederer recounts an understanding of the importance of cultural nuances in mental health treatment, using the story of a “Princess W” he treated and how he ensured she received quality care. I found Sederer's drive to give a patient with delicate needs regarding cultural issues the best care possible as a mark of his integrity and what would be considered progressive even now. The second is Dr. Sederer's proposals for practical, viable alternatives and solutions to widespread problems. For example, he advocates for the use of long-acting medications and critical thinking in prescribing practices instead of polypharmacy. The book is well written and concise, and, even as a lay reader, I found it useful in how I might be able to advocate for myself and my children if and when the need arises. Very highly recommended.