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The Hospital by the River: A Story of Hope Paperback – April 15, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Rich in detail, full of jarring contrasts [wealth and poverty for example], and profoundly inspiring, this is missionary memoir at its best. Be warned: You'll be moved to open your heart and your wallet." (Cindy Crosby Christianity Today 2005-05-01)

"Fascinating memoirs of Dr. Hamlin and her late husband, Dr. Reg Hamlin, who have been saving women's lives in Ethiopia since 1959. Though some medical descriptions are not for the faint at heart, extraordinary stories of the once hopeless ""fistula pilgrims"" are inspiration for other Christian doctors called to far corners of the world." (Tamara Rice Outreach Magazine 2005-06-01)

"Almost four decades after her work began, it's understandable why Hamlin has been called 'The new Mother Teresa for our age' by the New York Times, and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. This fascinating account of Dr. Hamlin's work will break your heart -- and offer hope that even the worst circumstance can be changed if we care enough to help. Keep the Kleenex handy." (Cindy Crosby Faithful Reader 2005-05-01)

"Rich in detail, full of jarring contrasts (wealth and poverty, for example), and profoundly inspiring, this is missionary memoir at its best. Be warned: You'll be moved to open your heart and your wallet." (Cindy Crosby Christianity Today 2006-10-31)

About the Author

As well as being made a Companion of the Order of Australia, Dr. Hamlin received the ANZAC Peace Prize, and the coveted Gold Medal from the Royal College of Surgeons and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Monarch Books (April 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0825460719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825460715
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Well written and very informative.
Cynthia M. Reed
This book tells the story of Dr Catherine Hamlin, a missionary nurse in Ethiopia, who started the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.
Kathryn Septon-johnson
I was very inspired to see God at work through the dedication of these doctors and those who supported them.
Phyllis Lay

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By FaithfulReader.com on May 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
Seldom has a missionary painted such a compelling portrait of hope from darkest despair as Dr. Catherine Hamlin in her inspiring memoir, THE HOSPITAL BY THE RIVER. When she and her husband, Reg, embarked on their careers in gynecology in Australia, they never dreamed their work would eventually take them halfway across the globe to the third world country of Ethiopia to establish a teaching hospital.

Ethiopia's insistence on child-brides and the poor obstetric care in that country is responsible for the high incidence of women who suffer from fistula, a childbirth injury that results in constantly running urine and terrible internal injuries. The personal stories of these women as told by Dr. Hamlin will break readers' hearts. Divorced by their husbands and rejected by their families, many of these injured women live out the remainder of their lives ostracized alone in dark rooms --- all for want of an operation costing only a few hundred dollars.

A simple operation can alleviate their suffering, and most women are curable. (Hamlin takes payment in everything from live chickens to jewelry.) But although two million women suffer from fistula, less than 7,000 are treated each year. The challenges to create a hospital that serves these women --- and then maintain and finance operations --- are formidable.

Hamlin's descriptions will move even the most jaded readers to tears --- and sometimes to a queasy stomach. In one gruesome anecdote, she tells of a woman mauled by a hyena while giving birth (the hyena ate her baby while she was helpless to protect it). However, Hamlin wants us to understand the depth of this despair so difficult to relate to --- the horrific conditions these women live in --- in order to arouse our deepest compassion for their suffering.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By T. Coulson on April 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have been writing to publishers and book sellers for over a year begging them to publish this book in the U.S. Dr. Catherine Hamlin tells the story and illustrates how one intelligent, caring woman devoted her time on earth to easing the plight of young mothers in Africa. Don't live another week without reading this story! Also, sales of the book go toward keeping Dr. Hamlin's hospital and refuge open for young mothers in Africa who need reconstructive surgery following the birth of their babies.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on June 17, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book tells a remarkable story. It is the autobiography of Dr. Catherine Hamlin and the work she and her husband have done to establish a hospital treating obstetric fistula in Ethiopia. What an amazing story. I had never heard of obstetric fistula till a few days ago. I did not know that so many young women (girls, really) in some parts of the world have child birth complications that cause holes in the vagina through which feces and urine leak constantly, leading to the women becoming abandoned pariahs. And the repair surgery costs only about $300 -- but this was essentially unavailable until the Hamlins came to Ethiopia in 1960. What wonderful work they have done, along with their wonderful, competent Ethiopian staff and colleagues. In addition to that basic theme, Hamlin tells an engrossing story about the overthrow of the emperor, the years of communist regime (many of her friends were murdered), and then the current improved situation. What a story! This book about her faith and her work is well worth reading. I hope many, many people enjoy this book and are inspired to donate to this hospital.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Varraso VINE VOICE on May 30, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is said that in some parts of the world the foulest curse that can be uttered is "May you be born again as a woman!" and after reading this story, I now understand why. We in the developed world have no idea what it would be like to be an Ethiopian Woman: betrothed as a toddler, married at nine (the groom promises not to have sex with his bride until she is "old enough." - ha, ha.), pregnant at twelve and left for four or five days, utterly alone, to try and give birth unaided. As in the developed world, many babies are not in a position to be born easily, but unlike here, there is no sterile hospital and a doctor ready to perform a C-section. A girl has no option but to push and push and push until she gives birth to her baby (who has been dead for days by this time) or until she dies.

Death would be the kinder route, once you learn about the mission of the Doctors Reg and Catherine Hamlin. As the poor undeveloped, undernourished girl pushes for days, the corpse of her child causes horrific injuries to the woman's body. She is left leaking urine and often, feces, with no control over her body whatsoever. In a land where water is scarce for drinking and nonexistent for bathing, and where a man wouldn't dream of trying to buy some rags for his wife to keep clean, life becomes a torment that a woman prays would end every day. She is no longer allowed indoors or near other people. Her husband, who has to have at least one son to secure his own future, abandons her and finds another child-bride. Her mother (if she hasn't died in childbirth herself) will probably allow her to return to her home village, but she will be banished to a ragged lean-to that she builds herself with castoffs. Speaking of castoffs, that is all she will be allowed to eat and wear.
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