Observations from Baltimore - Stoops - 1st in a series

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Wed, 10/07/2009 - 17:20.

east baltimore johns hopkins vacant row houses front porch jeff buster image







What is important in our lives?


Over the last two and a half weeks I have been intensely involved as a representative for a hospital patient with liver blood clots.   For privacy reasons I will not identify the patient specifically, but I will recollect here on Realneo, over the coming days, my experiences.   


I hope to provide information which may be queried via the internet, and which will provide details and aid to others – preferably before they are in critical condition.


I haven’t coalesced my  thoughts entirely - I am still coming down from the experience – so bear with me while I re-engage the web.


I will begin – not on a medical note, but rather by looking at the urban environment around Johns Hopkins - thinking also of the similar environment around Cleveland’s University Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic.


The community around Johns Hopkins is destitute and reportedly dangerous.  I walked there to view the East Baltimore stoops.  All the stairs in this image lead to vacant homes with boarded front doors.  There are thousands more….


What is important in our lives?

 east baltimore empty steets and vacant rowhouses image jeff buster

Each of the houses is about 12 feet wide. The image at the top of this report shows the right side of this street.  All the homes are empty on this block.  Is that important?


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Will you make a film...please...pretty please?


First let me say the pictures are great, however depressing.  That said, you also have a very curious story to tell that is more relevant than ever as this nation struggles through a compendium of crises, as in illegal war and occupation--health care crisis--forclosure disaster, just to name a few, which threaten to do us all in.  Yet, there is beauty.  There is hope.

I've always appreciated your photos (your's too lmcshane) and this situation that you're now engaged in with those receiving medical treatment (in an area of town that is grossly neglected) seems to me like the stuff that makes a good documentary worth watching.  Perhaps too, with my own trials and tribulations ever present, combined with some good news that I've been blessed with, along with my own visual interest in all things tactile, I am currently in the mindset of narration and storytelling on a grander scale. 

Whatever the case, I think you do good work and I encourage you to keep at it.


parallels John Hopkins and the Clinic

Jeff--I spent almost a week at John Hopkins in Baltimore nursing my mother through the surgery needed to install stents in her major arteries.   John Hopkins is like the Clinic in many, many ways.  There are old buildings and new buildings and the neighborhood surrounding it is theoretically unsafe.  The main complaint I found in Baltimore and I am sure that visitors to Cleveland find the same problem--how to get around without a car and how to buy the necessary accoutrements to life on the road...clean underwear, socks, clothes and a place to eat between treatments.   One of my distinct memories of John Hopkins...noticing the dust bunnies in the prep room...and thinking...here's a world class hospital with second rate housekeeping.


It looks like Baltimore

  Has been hit harder than Cleveland.  When I was last in Baltimore, even the most the destitute neighborhoods had a street life.  Baltimore is very much like Cleveland...segregated...but more interesting...all around.  A longer history and some attempt to tell their story helps Baltimore retain some dignity. Cleveland destroys its story.