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Tears for My Sisters

The Tragedy of Obstetric Fistula

L. Lewis Wall, MD, DPhil

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Traces the horror of obstetric fistula—a condition that has been largely forgotten in the developed world—and lays out a plan for its eradication.

Millions of women suffer from obstetric fistula, a catastrophic childbirth complication that exists today mainly in the world’s poorest countries. Fistulas are created by the prolonged pressure of the fetal head in the birth canal during obstructed labor, which grievously injures a woman’s bladder, leaving her incontinent. With a fistula, a woman’s life revolves around futile attempts to control her condition and the stigma associated with it…

Traces the horror of obstetric fistula—a condition that has been largely forgotten in the developed world—and lays out a plan for its eradication.

Millions of women suffer from obstetric fistula, a catastrophic childbirth complication that exists today mainly in the world’s poorest countries. Fistulas are created by the prolonged pressure of the fetal head in the birth canal during obstructed labor, which grievously injures a woman’s bladder, leaving her incontinent. With a fistula, a woman’s life revolves around futile attempts to control her condition and the stigma associated with it. Abandoned by their loved ones, ostracized from their communities, and cut off from modern surgical care, which can repair fistulas and return patients to full health, these women suffer wretchedly.

Based on over 20 years of personal experience with fistula patients in multiple African countries, Dr. L. Lewis Wall’s Tears for My Sisters describes the ancient history of obstetric fistula, tracing it as far back as ancient Egypt. An expert in repairing obstetric fistula, Dr. Wall explains how these injuries occur and how Western medicine developed the technical capacity to overcome obstructed labor and repair fistulas. Arguing that obstetric fistula results from a general disregard for women’s human rights and reproductive health around the globe, he lays bare the obstacles that poor women face in getting emergency obstetric care. Finally, he presents a solution to this problem based on the inspiring story of Drs. Reginald and Catherine Hamlin, who created a hospital system in Ethiopia to care for fistula patients, improve health care, and eradicate these injuries.

Providing these women with a much-needed voice, this compassionate book is the first to tell the comprehensive story of this tragic but preventable condition. It is compelling reading for everyone interested in women’s health, reproductive rights, the history of medicine, and social justice.

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Tears for My Sisters

L. Lewis Wall, MD, DPhil

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Reviews

Reviews

The author has reserached his subject well... The writing is good and I found the book easy to reaad.

All staff working in obstetrics and gynaecology should read this book, as well as students in the field, as they would all gain insight into this problem.

A veritable treasure trove of information for anyone interested in the plight of women with obstetric fistula. This unique book is the culmination of L. Lewis Wall's lifelong commitment to the care of women and his pursuit of excellence in an exceptionally important field. Tears for My Sisters solidifies Dr. Wall's rightly deserved place as THE thought leader in the convergent fields of obstetric fistula, medical ethics, and anthropology.

Women describe obstetric fistula as 'living death.' L. Lewis Wall is one of the few who have worked hard to eliminate this tragedy. This book charts the story and shows a way forward to make sure no women in the future should endure such tragedy. A book that should be read by all.

Through Tears for My Sisters, Dr. Wall meticulously chronicles obstetric fistula’s causes while laying out a clear vision for tackling this crisis. With detailed narratives and historic analysis Dr. Wall reveals how, for the women in communities afflicted by fistula, access to prevention and treatment is transformative and empowering.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6.125
x
9.25
Pages
368
ISBN
9781421424170
Illustration Description
8 b&w photos, 26 line drawings
Table of Contents

Preface
Prologue
1. The Tragedy of Queen Henhenit
2. The Human Obstetrical Dilemma and Its Consequences
3. The Conquest of Obstructed Labor
4. Dr. Sims Finds a Cure
5. Structural Violence and Obstetric

Preface
Prologue
1. The Tragedy of Queen Henhenit
2. The Human Obstetrical Dilemma and Its Consequences
3. The Conquest of Obstructed Labor
4. Dr. Sims Finds a Cure
5. Structural Violence and Obstetric Fistula among the Hausa
6. Deadly Delays in Deciding to Seek Care
7. Deadly Delays in Getting to a Place of Care
8. Deadly Delays in Receiving Care
9. Compassion, Respect, and Justice
10. The Vision of Hamlin Fistula
Epilogue
Acknowledgments
Appendix
Glossary
Essay on Sources
Index

Author Bio
L. Lewis Wall, MD, DPhil
Featured Contributor

L. Lewis Wall, MD, DPhil

L. Lewis Wall, MD, DPhil, is the Selina Okin Kim Conner Professor in Arts and Sciences, a professor of anthropology, and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of Hausa Medicine: Illness and Well-Being in a West African Culture and the coauthor of Practical Urogynecology.