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The Hospital By the River


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Hamlin and her late husband, Reg, devoted most of their adult lives to practicing obstetrics among Ethiopia's rural poor, where inadequate medical care and bad road conditions made childbirth a risky endeavor. Obstructed labor-frequently lasting five days or longer-resulted in the death of a vast number of babies and caused incontinence in the mothers, who then became outcasts and beggars. In this chronicle of her work in Ethiopia, Hamlin tells of how she and Reg perfected the technique of surgically repairing this damage, operating on more than 25,000 women, most of whom were then able to lead normal lives. Several specialized themes create odd juxtapositions: explicit descriptions of obstructed childbirth, incontinence, and desperate poverty are interspersed with genteel accounts of visits with kings and queens, assorted denizens of high society, Ethiopian brigadiers, and the like. Hamlin sees her service as part of the missionary tradition that her grandparents began, and at the age of 77, she continues to practice by performing surgery, training Ethiopian doctors and midwives, raising money for the hospital she founded, and beginning each morning with prayers and Bible study in her house of mud and sticks. This moving account is recommended for public libraries and specialized collections on women's studies and obstetrics/midwifery.-Noemie Maxwell, King Cty. Lib. Syst., WA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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