Healing Lives

Williams, Sue

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Dr Catherine Hamlin first met Mamitu Gashe when Mamitu was her patient at the Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa that Catherine and her New Zealand husband Reg had established. Mamitu had needed treatment for the debilitating childbirth injuries she had suffered and as she recovered from multiple surgeries, she became an integral member of the hospital community, eventually becoming a world-renowned fistula surgeon herself, one without any formal education.

This is the moving story of Catherine and Mamitu's lives, tending to the poorest and most vulnerable of women, their almost 60-year friendship and their inspiring legacy to the Ethiopian people.

Comments from BDS Reviewers

"You can't read this book without being astonished and moved."

"This is the story of some very dedicated people who chose to make a difference in the world. And what a difference they made!"

"The story is almost too astonishing to be true. An uneducated young woman with a debilitating condition from an undeveloped country is rescued by a pair of young doctors and becomes one of the world's most accomplished fistula surgeons."

"The book is well written, and the life stories of Mamitu and Catherine are interweaved very nicely."

"I enjoyed the Ethiopian cultural information that is relayed in a non-judgemental way. We also learn of the impact the civil war has had on civilians."

"The writing style is easy to read and it's a relatively quick read."

"There is a level of repetition in the book, particularly about Gashe."

'I recommend the book as it covers material not often covered by BDS: Ethiopia, female health, and gender issues."

"I was concerned that the book did not explore the risks of non-medically trained staff undertaking surgery, nor the challenges of getting informed consent from illiterate but very sick women."



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