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.
|Publisher:||Johns Hopkins University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
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.
Table of Contents
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
Essay on Sources
What People are Saying About This
"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."
"An eloquent plea for the life and well-being of pregnant women in low-resource settings. This book will no doubt save women’s lives."
"A powerful book that highlights the distressing and devastating injury avoidably suffered by millions of women worldwide. Wall expertly weaves the history of obstetric fistula and its repercussions and impact on women's health and their livelihoods. A remarkable story empathetically told that is deeply affecting and universally hopeful."
"Wall gives the reader a fascinating insight into the personalities, history, and causes surrounding obstetric fistula, while he also brings to life the suffering, emotional agony, and obstructions to getting care that millions of women endure in silence around the world. A must-read for not only anyone involved in caring for fistula patients but also all who are interested in the injustices to women."
"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."
"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."
"Wall uses his medical and anthropology training and some fine historical research to put together a much-needed book on obstetric fistulas. He does a terrific job of placing the controversial work of J. Marion Sims in historical context and answers Sims’s critics head-on. Through Wall’s skilled writing we get to see the interaction of culture and obstetrics in society, past and present."