His condition worsened, and on Dec. 29, back home in New Haven, where he teaches history at Yale University, he spent 17 hours in the emergency room before a diagnosis was finally made. He now had a baseball-size abscess in his liver, accompanied by bacteria in his bloodstream. He was on the verge of death from overwhelming sepsis. It was probably a complication of a burst appendix.
After emergency surgery, instead of gratitude that he was alive, Snyder felt rage. In fact, rage is the leitmotif of his slender new book, “Our Malady: Lessons in Liberty From a Hospital Diary,” with more than 30 occurrences of the word, averaging roughly one “rage” every five pages.
His central argument is this: America is supposed to be about freedom, but if our health-care system makes us unhealthy, it is making us unfree. Health care, Snyder writes, is a fundamental human right, as