A hospital unit dedicated to the care of patients, families, and friends with AIDS opened at Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago in 1984. It was called Unit 371. The Unit closed in 2000 and it has been nearly forgotten, except by anyone who was ever there.
Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371 will be published by Penn State University Press in March 2017.
“MK Czerwiec’s tales of her nursing work on an AIDS unit chart a remarkable episode in the history of medicine. It’s a time of staggering loss but also remarkable change. Through the lives and deaths of individual patients, written and drawn in documentary detail, we see the power dynamic between doctor and patient begin to shift. When cure is not an option, care takes on a new meaning.” —Alison Bechdel, Fun Home
“Taking Turns bears important witness to a specific moment in the history of HIV/AIDS through the testimony of caregivers, patients, and volunteers. Czerwiec’s story also issues a gracious challenge: knowing that we all live in vulnerable bodies, knowing that we will all ‘take turns’ needing others and being needed, how can we make this one life we have meaningful? This luminous graphic novel models how we can start: through creativity, community, generosity, and vulnerability.” —Ann Fox, Davidson College