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Student Editorials

Obstetric fistulas

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 01 May 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:0405178
  1. Ozge Tuncalp, 6th year medical student1,
  2. Eddie H M Sze, associate professor Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology2
  1. 1Istanbul Medical School
  2. 2Yale School of Medicine

Common in developing countries, obstetric fistulas affect mainly young women, as Ozge Tuncalp and Eddie Sze explain

Imagine you are a 14 year old girl in a society where you are considered mature enough to get married. Imagine you are 15 years old with a belly getting larger every day, and all you can do is try to get used to the idea of becoming a mother. Imagine you are almost 16 and your body is enduring relentless pain, and you wonder how much more you can endure. Just the thought of seeing your little baby soon keeps you going. After several days, there is still no baby. But the pain keeps coming. And then …


Over 2 million women have obstetric fistulas. The women are usually young and very poor

Some of you may assume that this story has a happy ending. Unfortunately for over 2 million women in developing countries, it is just the beginning of a nightmare. Because they have experienced one of the worst complications of childbirth, obstetric fistula—a complication which has been long forgotten in the Western world.

An obstetric …

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