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The blue cotton gown : a midwife's memoir
Patricia Harman
Adult Nonfiction RG950 .H36 2008

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A nurse midwife struggling to keep solvent the women's health clinic in Torrington, W.Va., that she ran with her surgeon husband shares poignant stories about her patients over the course of a year. A self-described former hippie who lived on a commune with her three sons, Harman later went to nursing school and became a midwife while her husband, Tom, attended medical school. Although their practice took off, they were strapped with debt, back taxes, growing bills for malpractice insurance, constant threats of lawsuits and the discovery, over the year, of Harman's freak ailments--a gangrenous gallbladder and uterine cancer requiring an immediate hysterectomy. Harman conveys the hope inspired by her patients' stories, such as the seven-time mother who never tried birth control and couldn't decide which husband to stay with, and the lesbian horticulture professor who wanted to become a man. Wearying of the financial pressures and tensions with Tom, Harman tells in this heartfelt memoir that she dreamed of leaving the practice, though a genuine love for helping women, and her great faith both in God and her spouse, sustained her. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Verdict: Harman comes across as a wonderful, empathic friend and listener, and the stories she tells here, intertwined with her own life story, are personal and moving. A vivid and detailed picture of the health-care system in the United States today, from the perspective of one caring, intelligent, and hard-working professional. Highly recommended for public and medical libraries. Background: Nurse-midwives don't just deliver babies--they can provide primary care to women of all ages, including gynecological exams, family-planning advice, and prenatal and neonatal care as well as assistance in labor and delivery. Harman, a certified nurse-midwife, works in a small medical practice with her physician husband in rural West Virginia, and after the practice had to stop delivering babies because of exorbitant insurance costs, she found herself counselling teenaged girls, abused women, poor women, and women with all kinds of health problems and personal concerns, referring them to other medical or social work specialists when needed. This memoir covers a year in her life as a nurse-midwife, wife, mother of three grown sons, and woman beset by her own health, emotional, marital, and financial problems.--Marcia Welsh, Dartmouth Coll. Libs., Hanover, NH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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