Page 17 - Volume 69 Number 1
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Home Delivery: Fond Memories
from Medical School
By Charles Koopmann, MD
Editor’s note: When I heard Charlie Koopmann tell this story to a group of us as we sat around the dinner table before a recent county medical society General Session,
I encouraged him to write it down and submit it to the Bulletin so it could be shared more widely. I’m sure that as you read it you will agree that it is a unique Chicago story, worthy of a Studs Terkel interview.
When I was a senior at Northwestern University Medical School in the late 1960’s, one of the graduation requirements was a two week rotation at the Chicago Maternity Center (hereafter CMC), which was located on Maxwell Street near the renowned Cook County Hospital. The CMC provided prenatal, natal, and postnatal care for women in the south, west, and northwest areas of Chicago that chose home births. Many of the locations in which these
women lived and where they were to deliver their babies at home were among the most dangerous in the Chicago urban area. With this in mind, and given that medical students at the time did not all have personal transporta- tion, the CMC provided us with a driver. Our driver, Ernie, was also our ‘bodyguard.’ He would drive us to the apartments or homes in the locations designated most dangerous. While on the rotation, we lived at the CMC essentially 24/7, with only one night to go home toward the middle of our time there.
The delivery teams consisted of a senior medical student, a nursing student, and a nurse with telephone back-up if needed from the Obstetrics residents at Wesley Memorial Hospital, which is the women’s hospital unit in the Northwestern University medical center complex. Deliveries were performed either in the bedroom or on
a kitchen table. The patients and their families were to
Volume 69 • Number 1 Washtenaw County Medical Society BULLETIN 17

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