Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘hospital’

A Midwife’s Joys & Sorrows

Born for Life: A Midwife’s Story by Julie Watson.
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

41H1LHEanXL._SY346_Being that Call the Midwife, based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, is my favorite series on television, I was excited to discover this autobiography by New Zealand nurse-midwife Julie Watson. Born for Life is an intimate and honest portrait of the life Ms. Watson has led (so far), and her interest in nursing, which was inflamed when she first read about Florence Nightengale as a schoolgirl. The effects of birth, and having children, have an overwhelming impact on the author, in her own family, as well as her chosen profession.

Julie meets her future husband, Barry, at a young age (in 1968) and is married at 17. Four years later she has her first child (Kelvin). During the pregnancy she develops preeclampsia and must be on bedrest. “Preeclampsia is a condition that occur during pregnancy when a woman’s blood pressure rises sharply.” She first comes across the condition at work when it has devastating effects on a patient. “All these thoughts were going on in my mind. I never thought something like this could happen when having a baby. It never occurred to me that sometimes things can go wrong. Little did I know that preeclampsia was going to have a devastating effect on my own life that would impact me for years.” The impact she is referring to is the death of her second child, Shelley Anne Watson, who lived only a short time after her birth.

After having more children, and going back to school to become a licensed nurse, Ms. Watson had several other children (Angela Mary) and much later, another daughter (Elizabeth Jane). Not only does she have to deal with preeclampsia and bedrest once again, for both these pregnancies, but she also discovers that both her daughter’s have Albinism, which is a congenital disorder that results in the partial or complete absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. It can also effect sight, which it does with her children.

The author speaks candidly about her periods of “depression, loneliness, and self-doubt”, which she struggled with after the death of Shelley Ann, and at other periods in her life. She describes the wonderful support she had (and has) from her spouse, family, and friends, and how they all came through to help, especially when she has a stroke in mid-life (from which she recovers). She also talks about starting to attend church, and the comfort prayer, and belief begins to give her. It is this faith that sustains her.

Though this review may sound as if this memoir is just about struggles, and sadness, Born for Life is anything but. Along with the writer’s personal ups and downs, she provides an abundance of details and tales, about different mothers, families, and situations in which she played a vital role in assisting in joyful and healthy deliveries. By far, the majority of this autobiography tells the stories of brave women giving birth, who are surrounded with caring and knowledgable midwives, such as Ms. Watson. It was an honor to read.

“I Demand My Rights.”

“I Demand My Rights.”

Kaia* was eleven years old when she was assaulted and raped on the way to school. A teacher took her to the hospital, but the police demanded bribes for even taking down a statement.

So Kaia did something incredibly brave. She sued the police for failing to protect her. What’s even more incredible is what happened next.

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In Kenya where Kaia lives, a woman or girl is raped every 30 minutes. Police there routinely turn a blind eye, further isolating terrified young survivors and reinforcing the notion that rape is ok.

Kaia and ten other young survivors challenged that. On the day of the case, ignoring threats to their safety and a blockade from court security, they marched from their shelter to the courthouse, chanting “Haki yangu” — Kiswahili for “I demand my rights.” And then the judge issued his ruling: The girls had won!

The amazing advocates and human rights lawyers that worked with Kaia are ready to bring similar lawsuits against police forces across Africa and beyond, but they need funding to do it. We won’t process pledges until we reach our goal, but if just 30,000 of us pledge a small amount now, we can repeat this game-changing victory in other countries, remind police that rape is a crime, and take a powerful step forward against the global war on women:

Click to pledge what you can — we’ll process your contribution only if we hit our goal of 30,000 donors.

When Kaia’s story began, she looked set to become just another of the countless victims of child rape ignored by the police. But Kenyan child rights advocate Mercy Chidi and Canadian human rights lawyer Fiona Sampson joined forces to challenge this injustice in the courts.

The plan was hatched in Kenya by a group of colleagues from Canada, Kenya, Malawi and Ghana — it seemed like a long shot to sue the police force for failing to act, but they stuck with it and took risks… and made legal history. The work has just begun: like any win, it takes time, effort and money to make sure the ruling sticks, and to use it as a springboard to wipe out violence against women.

If we raise enough, here’s how we could turn a huge victory for Kenya into a win for countries across Africa and even the rest of the world:

* help fund more cases like this, across Africa and around the world
* use hard-hitting campaign strategies to make sure these groundbreaking judgments are enforced
* push for massive, effective public education campaigns that strike at the root of sexual violence and help erase it for good
respond to more campaign opportunities like this case — with super smart strategies that turn the tide in the war on women.

Click to pledge what you can to start this important work right away — we won’t process any contributions unless we hit our goal of 30,000 donors.

As citizens, we often appeal to political leaders and other officials to get serious about protecting women’s rights. It’s important to keep doing that, but when they fail to hear their consciences, we need to appeal to their interests, and take them to court. That sends a powerful message: not only that there are new consequences for their crimes, but that the era of unchallenged misogyny in the culture of our societies is coming to end.

With hope,

Ricken, Maria Paz, Emma, Oli, Nick, Allison, Luca and the rest of the Avaaz team

* Kaia is a pseudonym, but her story is real. She is not pictured here.

Curing Cancers In A Decade

From Technology Review
21 September, 2012

Oncology’s Moon Shot
by Susan Young

A large cancer research center in Texas announced today it will launch a “$3 billion fight” to reduce the death rates of eight cancers. The so-called Moon Shots program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center will focus on forms of lung, prostate, ovarian, skin and blood cancers. According to the Houston Chronicle, the program follows a pledge last year by then-new MD Anderson president Ronald DePinho, who at the time said he wanted the hospital to develop a “bold and ambitious plan for curing several cancers.”

The Moon Shots program will include a focus on genomics to understand the genetic and molecular basis of cancers and to identify patient-specific treatments (for more information on these ideas, see “Cancer Genomics” and “Making Genomics Routine in Cancer Care”). “Humanity urgently needs bold action to defeat cancer. I believe that we have many of the tools we need to pick the fight of the 21st century. Let’s focus our energies on approaching cancer comprehensively and systematically, with the precision of an engineer, always asking … ‘What can we do to directly impact patients?'” said DePinho in a released statement.

Read complete story and other informative articles at Technology Review.

Stories From Syria

Dear Gabriel,

You have heard the stories on the news — Syrian cities are being besieged, and civilians are dying in droves at the hands of their own government. Just today, a U.S. journalist and a French photographer were killed while covering the violence in Homs. I want you to know that Amnesty International is on the Syrian border, collecting stories for the world to hear.

Amnesty’s Syria campaigner Maha talked with a group of women from the village of Tasil, including a young mother:

“One day before we left Tasil I was looking out from the window and saw security forces chasing a man in the farms near the village. They were shooting at him and I thought no doubt they would kill him. When I looked closely I realized that that man was actually my husband. Thank God he managed to escape.”

Maha heard that 8 deaths occurred in Tasil in one week — including a woman shot and killed while putting her laundry out on the roof.

Donate to help Amnesty shine a light on the abuses being committed in Syria and around the world.

Those arrested in Syria face unspeakable torture.

Neil, an Amnesty researcher, spoke with individuals from the city of Dera’a. Dozens have been killed in the last week, their homes looted.

Neil is hearing accounts of torture unlike anything he has seen in 9 years working on Syria at Amnesty International. A refugee named Abu Suhaib tells Neil what he’s truly scared of, “I’ve seen many beside me be shot and killed but I’m not afraid of dying. What I fear is being arrested.”

Neil talked to Jihad, a 34-year-old clothes shop worker arrested last December. Like others, he was subjected to extremely cramped conditions, electrocuted several times, and sometimes violently beaten. Also, like many, he had his religious beliefs denigrated by the security guards.

After refusing to recognize Syrian president Bashar al-Assad as his god, Jihad was kicked down two flights of stairs. Jihad unwrapped the bandage around his left hand and told Neil what happened next. “He then ordered that I be restrained in the crucifix position, and have a piece of dynamite the size of a pen tied to my left palm. ‘Boom’, it exploded and half my hand blew off. Blood flowed everywhere.”

Jihad was taken to a hospital from where he was able to escape and later find his way to Jordan. After he fled, the security forces gave his family a document stating that if captured he will be executed.

Neil and Maha continue to uncover accounts of violence and torture. How much blood do the people have to shed before the world helps?

Amnesty International is campaigning for governments to take action individually and through the United Nations to protect Syrians from their government’s brutality. We need your help.

Donate today to fund Amnesty’s work to expose human rights abuses — and push the world community to act!

Sanjeev Bery
Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa
Amnesty International USA

Community Nutrition – Rwanda

The following blog is composed of excerpts from a progress report written by current WDI intern Sean Morris. It describes one of the many projects he is working on and some of what he has learned thus far, working with The Ihangane Project in rural Ruli Rwanda.

Community Nutrition – an update from the field.

CNW Program progress: I have assessed the community nutrition worker (CNW) program through direct observations of their work in the field, and through surveying large samples of CNWs from various health centers in the Ruli District Health System. My partner, Huriro Uwacu Theophila, is a biostatistics student at the National University of Rwanda. We have worked to produce surveys in Kinyarwanda for both CNWs, and participants in the malnutrition program. So far, we have surveyed two of the seven Ruli Hospital CNW networks, and I plan to schedule transportation to the remaining five CNW monthly meetings as they take place in July. The information gathered in these CNW surveys includes: each individual’s satisfaction with the program; identification of resources necessary to perform their work; description of the food security situation in their villages; an assessment of the knowledge required to perform their work; and their current outreach to people living with HIV. I will use the data from these surveys, along with the observations that I record in the field to see how far the CNW program has come in implementing the Rwandan community based nutrition protocols (CBNP), and to identify gaps in their effectiveness in combating malnutrition in their communities. After gaining a full understanding of the CNW program, I will work to determine cost-effective approaches to meet their material needs, and provide them with focused training and education opportunities related to nutrition. This survey has the potential to act as an on-going worker satisfaction and knowledge tool for the CNW program. Such a tool would allow the CNW network and its administrators to continually, and accurately improve the program, monitor the success of any recommendations that we implement this summer, and foster collaborative problem solving within the CNW groups. Improving the CNW program will advance the nutritional status of the villages in the Ruli catchment area, and will lead to reduced resource constraints, funding dependencies, and operating costs at the malnutrition center.

COMPLETE ARTICLE

His Mother’s Arms – Part 3

His Mother’s Arms. Excerpt from children’s story collection Solar Girl and Lunar Boy.

His Mother’s Arms – Part 3 (Conclusion)

When Jon and his mother made their return visit to the hospital, Jon let slip a comment about his mother’s headaches. The doctor, a young, auburn-haired woman, named Sally Shapiro, quickly questioned Clarisa. “When did she first have these headaches? What was their frequency and how long did they last? What was the pain like? Were there any stressful events in her life? Did anyone in her family history have similar ailments?” The last question unloaded the cart.

To her surprise, Clarisa found the attention comforting and was relieved to finally reveal her private world of apprehension and fear. She made an appointment with Dr. Choate for tests the following week. To her delighted and infinite surprise, the tests discovered nothing other than high blood pressure, which was successfully treated with medication and a change in diet.

Jon’s feet pushed hard on the rubber pedals of his new used bike. He broke free down the straightaway and didn’t let up rounding the corner towards home. His mother was in the front yard with Grace and little Mary playing in the flowerbed. Clarisa was planting spring bulbs and chatting away when she heard a holler.

“Hey, Mom! Look!” Jon yelled with delight. He felt like the sky had lifted him from gravity’s grip and pulled him, flying, up the driveway. He skidded to a stop and stood beaming like sunlight. His mother clapped her dirt-covered hands and ran to his side. She gave him a long hug, pulling his head to her tummy and exclaimed, “That was fantastic! You’ve gotten so good! Your father will be very proud.”

Unfastening the strap to his helmet, Jon unconsciously felt above his eyebrow, adjusted his wire-rimmed glasses and basked in his mother’s presence and praise.

THE END

Part 1
Part 2

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His Mother’s Arms – Part 2

Hist Mother’s Arms – Excerpt from Children’s short story collection Solar Girl and Lunar Boy.

Hist Mother’s Arms – Part 2

The nurse, Bea, washed Jon’s forehead with yellowish-brown betadine that ran behind his ear. Bea’s brown face was surrounded by straight, thick black hair. The rest of her body was covered in white. She kept smiling and repeating, “That’s a good boy.” Her soothing voice put him into a matriarchal trance, as name-calling, rocks and falling took an afternoon nap.

Grace stood close by, rocking Mary side to side, like mothers’ of young children do. She was trying to put on a good face and comfort Jon, but he could sense her aversion to looking at his wound.

A tall mustached man, in a hospital coat, suddenly loomed over Jon.

“This is Doctor Patrick,” voiced the nurse, in a hasty introduction.

“What have we here?” he questioned, without expecting anyone to answer. He took the pad off of Jon’s eyebrow.

“Don’t touch it!” Jon screamed with fright.

The doctor ignored his outburst and stated matter-of-factly, “Pretty good one there buddy.” Turning towards the nurse he said, “I’ll need a butterfly suture set.” The nurse already had it ready and placed it in his hand.

Jon eyed the doctor with the hair on his lip, as he opened the suture kit and seeming to speak to the plastic tray said, “Son, I’m going to give you a little poke. It will sting.” Nurse Bea handed Doctor Patrick a small syringe. “Then I’ll stitch you up so good you’ll never know what happened.”

Doctor Patrick moved closer. Jon could feel his height. He looked at the doctor’s black belt and buckle, when his white coat fell open, then felt a sharp sting. He started to cry.

“The next part won’t hurt,” the physician’s monologue continued.

“It’ll just feel like someone tugging on your eyebrow a bit.”

“Son,” Jon repeated to himself. It sounded like his father’s voice. He knew his dad would want him to “be tough” so he bit his lip, counted backwards and closed his eyes. He longed for his mother’s arms and cried out “Mama!”

“All done,” chuckled the tall, black-belted, mustached man. “You can open your eyes now.” As he put the tweezers back in the tray, Dr. Patrick turned to Grace, who had just opened her eyes and said, “You have a brave little guy here.” Jon wiped away the tears with his dirty sleeve.

Before Grace or Jon could say a word, the self-absorbed doctor had gone to the next bed and disappeared behind a sliding beige curtain. Bea looked at Grace. “He’ll need to come back in a few weeks to get those removed.” She gestured towards Jon’s forehead and smiled her bewitching smile.

“I’ll tell his mother,” Grace replied, then helped Jon off the gurney and held his trembling hand out to the car.

CONCLUSION TOMORROW

His Mother’s Arms – Part 1

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