The People's Medical Society, an organization of medical consumers now claiming over 70,000 members, was established in response to the spiraling costs of medical services, mounting evidence that perhaps no more than one in eight hospital admissions is medically justified, and a growing sense in this country that monopolistic excesses of the medical profession need to be brought under control. Disturbing and well-documented, it is destined for controversy. The authors do not deny the ability of most medical institutions to treat specific illnesses; instead, they provide information, strategies, and ready-made forms to help individuals decide if they really do need hospital care; how they can find it at a reasonable cost; how they can protect themselves against the ever-present bungling and stresses of custody in medical institutions; and their rights and means of redress if they are injured or overcharged. Many will find this information-packed handbook as valuable as a ""second opinion."" Organized like a travel guide and using tourism as a continuing metaphor, the book leads the reader through the alien land of doctors, hospitals and medicine, and the return home, dealing with the costs of the trip. At every point the patient's legal options are explained, and ways are suggested in which you can participate in and monitor your own care. The six basic chapters of the book offer much practical advice: questions to ask, ways to evaluate your doctor's choice of an institution, and tips on what to look for during a top-to-bottom inspection of the facility and its staff. Residents, interns, nurses, specialists, technicians, and patients' representatives are described in the context of their potential for service to the patient--a dimension often at odds with the hospital's. Medical specialties are concisely sketched. Tips on dress, food, and protocol alternate with contingency plans for common hospital mishaps and an analysis of consent forms. Ways are suggested for dealing with the bill and keeping careful tax records. A chapter of workbook-style forms for logging expenses, treatments, and results and a good glossary of medical terminology end it. Hospital treatment is scary (the author's word) but the tone here is calm and forthright with no pretense of evenhandedness. It may well be a passport to a speedier recovery and a less expensive ""voyage"" for the 30 million Americans who enter hospital each year, especially the one in five who will leave with a condition that he did not have when admitted.