Can you imagine how it might feel to lose your baby, only to be rejected by your husband, then shunned by your family? Australian missionaries Dr. Catherine Hamlin and her husband Reg pioneered surgery for the condition called fistula-an injury incurred during obstructed labor resulting in uncontrollable incontinence. Surgeons from all over the world have come to Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital to learn these techniques.
Catherine Hamlin is still operating, though now in her late eighties. Many of the nurses-and some of the surgeons now working-first came to the hospital as patients, then stayed on to recuperate andpicked up skills as they lent a hand. The book is full of stories interspersed with accounts of the dedicated and painstaking techniques that had to be devised for the undernourished, small-boned patients who come in a steady stream to their doors. Behind all this is the figure of Catherine, described by the New York Times as "the new Mother Teresa of our age."
Catherine Hamlin and her now deceased husband, Reg, began the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia, which has become a major teaching institution for surgeons from all over the developing world. As well as being made a Companion of the Order of Australia, and being awarded the ANZAC Peace Prize and the coveted Gold Medal from the Royal College of Surgeons, Catherine was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999.