When Living is the Only Option

Cover of Novel, Living and Dying in Brick City

Cutting class with friends is not always the best option when trying graduate, but for Dr. Sampson Davis it was the beginning of the rest of his life.
On Sept. 6, Davis was a keynote speaker at William Peace University. His book Living and Dying in Brick City was chosen to read for the incoming freshmen. His book describes his need to educate and save lives.
Davis was born in Newark, NJ. Growing up in a rough city did not present him with many options of what he could be when he graduated from high school. When he was a teenager he got arrested for robbery. Davis’s fate turned out different from the others involved with the robbery.
“With just a misdemeanor shoplifting charge to my name, I got probation and, after four weeks in juvenile detention, another chance,” Davis wrote in his book.
During his speech, he gave background on himself and his role to becoming a doctor. He graduated from Seaton Hall College, attended medical school at Robert Wood Medical School and did his residency at the same hospital he was born in, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.
His surroundings did not really offer him a lot of options or exposure to things outside of the confines of his city limits.
“It was never my plan to become a doctor. I didn’t have real concrete heroes walking my streets every day,” he explained.
He did see other professions such as police officers, post office workers and teachers. He stresses how exposure to certain things is important.
“You cannot aim for what you cannot see,” Davis said.
His book shares very deep and detailed experiences he encounters while working in emergency medicine. He discusses a lot of issues within his hometown and health concerns for the African-American population. In one chapter titled “Hidden in Plain Sight,” he discusses patients stricken with Sickle-Cell Anemia and the drug addiction they can experience to some of the drugs offered.
He described his encounter with two patients’ names Ann and Lashawn.
“When one showed up, claiming to be experiencing the worst pain of her life, the staff came to expect within a half hour, the other would make her way there as well.”
After administering the first round of medicine, what he found was shocking.
“… I’d see the two sitting on one bed with their supplies spread out between them, giving each other manicures and pedicures, or braiding each other’s hair, like they were on summer vacation.”
This chapter is a glimpse into a broken system that Dr. Sampson hopes will change one day. The book offers help of symptoms of various diseases and preventatives measures that people can take.
Near the end of his speech, he noted that he did not make it out of his tumultuous city alone. George Jenkins, DMD., and Rameck Hunt, MD., were two of Sampson’s closets friends that also wanted to make it out of their city and make a difference. In their book The Pact, they talk about how they made it to being doctors and the impact they want to have in communities nationwide.

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