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Grady Baby

A Year in the Life of Atlanta's Grady Hospital

Jerry Gentry

Publication Year: 1999

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-

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Preface

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pp. vii-viii

All events in this book are true. Some minor chronological changes were made for the sake of smooth readability. Likewise, some minor changes were made to conversations, such as compressing several into one, also to facilitate smooth storytelling. I used pseudonyms except in the chapter on Grady's desegregation, which is a matter of historical record, and in the chapter on the medical mercy trip to Mexico. ...

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Prologue

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pp. 3-7

On a February morning, Robin James walked with her daughter, Cheryl, into the new five-story, marble-tile-walled atrium at Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta. Outside, the chilling wind whipped through the city, the cloudless sky a deep blue. Pedestrians—horrified southerners who rarely faced frigid weather—covered every possible inch of skin, pulling hoods down over their faces. Big oily machines...

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Blood Pressure and Weight

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pp. 9-26

Thirty-two years old, slim, Pauline James worried if she would ever have a baby. Her mother Robin with her, again she walked to the clinic for high-risk pregnancies. She had prayed, if it's going to end like the others, let it end early, not go seven months like the last one, and be born and not live. Waiting for her appointment, she recalled her previous pregnancy: "I really wanted him. I loved his father. I have pictures and everything. ...

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You Gonna Love 'em Anyway

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pp. 27-54

A bewildered-looking young woman entered the Grady OB waiting room and glanced around. She walked to the desk and said, "They told me to ask for Ms. Andrews." She pulled out a piece of paper on which she had scribbled notes. "They said Dr. Holcomb would be my doctor." The clerk called Ms. Griff, who walked through the double doors from the exam room hall. Another patient slept in a chair, leaning awkwardly...

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Grady Baby

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pp. 55-72

Azi Torres swept her arm through the air, pointing at a row of vases filled with congratulatory flowers and a clear plastic bag of free sample products from Grady. "Look at all my stuff," she said, in postpartum. She wore a white hospital gown and green foam-rubber slippers. She had had her baby, a boy, two days before. He slept in a wheeled crib next to her bed. She named him Robert. She sat on the edge of the bed and said...

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Like Grady Forty Years Ago

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pp. 73-96

Before flying to Mexico on a medical mercy trip, Grady OB physician assistant Walt Robinson said he planned to set his computer so that when his teenage son booted it up, Robinson's voice said to him, "Don't forget to make up your bed. Mow the lawn. Surprised you, didn't I?" Robinson told this story, snickering, sitting in the small computer room next to his exam room. ...

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Tired and Swollen

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pp. 97-112

On a cloudy August morning, Azi returned for her six-week checkup. James, the policeman she met after the World Cup, helped her with Robert. They sat near where a tape that explained an episiotomy was playing on the VCR/TV. Breastfeeding Robert, Azi said, "I hope they don't call me now." In a few minutes, they called her to the lab. She...

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Get It Out of Me

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pp. 113-142

Sipping coffee from a large Convenience Food Mart mug, Jodi Reeve listened to the morning report. Attached to her Grady nametag was a button that said, "Trust in Births Trust in Midwives." She sat in the midwife office with the third-shift midwife, who was ready to go home. Behind Reeve was a locker labeled "Dolls and Pelvis." "In 19, you got a thirty-seven plus weeks by ultrasound," the outgoing...

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Managing Labor

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pp. 143-164

Sitting in the cafeteria, third-year Emory University Medical School resident Timothy Crews explained resident roles in Labor and Delivery. "First year, you do triage, evaluate whether to admit. You do uncomplicated C-sections and vaginal deliveries, forceps deliveries. You're at the bottom of the heap, the front-line man in the trenches. You get shit on. You do paperwork, and you don't do much. You're at the beck and call...

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Who Have Money Is Very Strange People

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pp. 165-182

In the apartment she shared with Kenneth, Azi Torres said, "Kenneth can't find out right now. It would be too complicated. He can't stand Jeff." She was speaking about the fact that she and Jeff had gone to Chattanooga, Tennessee, a month before and gotten married. "Jeff says to try and live here a while and we'll see. Kenneth is jealous about Jeff because Jeff is rich, and Kenneth work. Can you imagine being jealous...

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Damn Stupid Guy

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pp. 183-201

"Hello, I'm Renee Lindley, your nurse. Are you having contractions?" Lindley asked this in Labor and Delivery room 8. The patient said she was, and Lindley explained to her about getting pain medication through an epidural or a narcotic in the IV. She explained the problems meconium—bodily waste from the baby—can cause if the baby inhales it. "When the baby is born, it might breathe"—she gasped quickly, imitating...

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Black Appendicitis White Appendicitis

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pp. 202-247

Dr. Roy Bell answered the phone at his dentistry office and was told a colored woman died at Grady because she was not treated. Bell had no proof it was true, but he believed it. In 1961 Atlanta, the truth of a particular story was not as important as the oppressive grind of segregation, which Dr. Bell faced, and despised, every day. "That was the starting point," he says now. "It was very personal. Grady Hospital, to Atlanta...

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I Guess He Thinks He's a Man

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pp. 248-278

Lisa Dean sat in her kitchen with her friend Lucretia and Lucretia's two children. The roar of airplanes flying overhead spilled in the windows and filled the apartment, but D'Lisa slept peacefully in a car seat on the kitchen table. Lisa's friend Marian Thurston walked in, from Cheryl's store next door, chewing gum. She said, "They sell three-cent gum for five cents." ...

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Crazy Without Her

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pp. 279-304

Grady had not won in several years. Once they had delivered so many babies a month that timing one just after midnight, and making the headlines for having the first newborn of the new year, was not a difficult challenge. The Grady babies just didn't stop. Grady had filled the rooms and lined the halls—and sometimes the staff break room—with bulgingbellied, laboring women. Now, they delivered babies in spanking-new...

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It's One

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pp. 305-319

Outside Lisa Dean's apartment, a group of young men held money and threw dice against concrete steps. Each either exulted or groaned at each throw. Next door to Lisa's place, a boy stepped out of Cheryl's apartment—store—shaking a steamy bag of microwave popcorn. A young woman entering Cheryl's apartment told a little girl, who held her hand...

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A More Permanent Basis

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pp. 320-336

"They say it usually goes up after you have a baby," Jan Dorman said about her T-cell count, which was in the seven hundreds—well into the healthy range. She sat in the den of her little house, her boyfriend Carl working at the house across the street. "And I haven't had any thrush in a long time." The house, she said, was getting crowded. Carl's sister and...

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Childhoods

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pp. 337-342

"I don't even remember. It was OK. It was kinda hard. I was the oldest and my mama was working, and I sometimes had to babysit. Until I was seven my dad was still with us, then they got a divorce. It wasn't traumatic. If I could, I'd forget my dad. The last time I seen my daddy I was ten. I was going to visit, and his mom was so mean to me, to us, me and my two brothers. I thought the old hag died because she was so mean...

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Epilogue

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pp. 343-346

In the fall, Lisa Dean's boyfriend Dwayne was at Floral Acres at 1:30 a.m. when a red Mustang drove up next to where he stood in the street. No witnesses were close enough to see what happened, but police think it was robbery. Or attempted robbery—Dwayne had no money. Onlookers saw the Mustang tear down the street, and they found Dwayne dead with a bullet in his chest. A car matching the description given by the witnesses...


E-ISBN-13: 9781621033844
E-ISBN-10: 1578061571
Print-ISBN-13: 9781578061570

Publication Year: 1999