- Paperback: 312 pages
- Publisher: Monarch Books (April 15, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0825460719
- ISBN-13: 978-0825460715
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 75 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,121,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Hospital by the River: A Story of Hope Paperback – April 15, 2005
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"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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I don't usually like doctor books, but this one is much more than that, and I have been truly enthralled with it. How blessed we are, to live in a country based on Chrisian principles. What a contrast with the place where this hospital was needed and was given.
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. So she lies completely still, because of an old wives tale (even though there are few old wives) saying that a girl who lies still enough will eventually heal. She may lie this way for twenty years or more, and healing never comes.
If a miracle happens, she hears about the Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa. Her injuries, which we now now are called Fistulas, will be healed and she will be able to return to her people and her village, ready to begin life again. The Doctors Hamlin, devout, old-world Christians, dedicated their lives to these poor, forgotten souls. Once Fistulas were as common in Europe, Australia and the US as they are in Africa today, but minimum marriage ages and proper care during childbirth have so solved this problem that the Hamlins had to develop methods of surgery to cure this condition. In the past sixty or so years, they operated upon and cured at least twenty thousand women, all while the world passed them by.
Dr Catherine Hamlin describes a childhood in an Australia that is long gone, and a life that is as full of hardships as any western doctor has ever lived, but she speaks of her life with joy and a devotion to G-d and the women that have no voice, even in their own homes. Dr. Hamlin, devoted and saintly as she sometimes is, can drive you (me) batty with her old-fashioned ways. She and her husband had a motto: these women want what every woman wants -- a live baby in her arms. They were horrified by the 'free love' of the 1960's, and spoke with great reverence for the last Emperor of Ethiopia, before he was overthrown.
I loved the book, and was moved to tears at the plight of these poor young women. I admired the dedication of the Hamlins, especially during their early years in Ethiopia, operating in the corner of another hospital, with thousands of injured young women coming to them, and their attempts to create a hospital of their own. I admired them even more during the years of war and revolution in Ethiopia, while they tried to get supplies and continue their work while under constant threat of death.
If you want to be touched and discover once again how lucky you are (and if you can read this, you are darned lucky, I guarantee it), then this book will make you feel gratitude and compassion for your fellow human beings, no matter where they live. If you think that this is just some sob story, then read the book anyway -- you need to have your soul touched, and I guarantee that this is the book to do it.