Hear Our Cry is a medical memoir that makes a compelling, emotional argument for biotherapy and compassion in wound care.
Part memoir, part medical text, Aletha W. Tippett’s Hear Our Cry is both emotional and logical as it advocates for compassionate wound treatment and limb salvaging.
The first few chapters of the book describe Tippett’s initiation into the medical field at the age of thirty-eight, after a brief career as a chemical engineer and time as a stay-at-home mother. She graduated medical school at the top of her class and started her own practice, emphasizing limb salvaging and wound care. This focus followed her witnessing horrific incidents resulting in painful deaths because of unnecessary amputations. The bulk of the book is devoted to case studies of Tippett’s particular style of wound care; they argue that her techniques are best for patients’ longevity, dignity, and comfort.
Logical when it comes to explaining and defending Tippett’s wound care practices, the book achieves balance with its complementary emotional accounts. In particular, a brief account of a thirty-nine-year-old patient with metastasized cancer, which depicts the double amputation of her legs at the hips, is heartbreaking. This account includes a graphic corresponding photograph, helping to argue that avoiding amputation unless it’s absolutely necessary is pivotal when it comes to preserving patients’ dignity.
Tippett’s methods involve the use of biotherapy, or “the use of animals for treatment and therapy in humans.” Before and after photographs of wounds (most often pressure ulcers or open injuries that became infected) show leeches and maggots being used to clean necrotic and gangrenous wounds.
However, some sections of the book are repeated verbatim—sometimes several chapters apart, and at others within pages of one other. Repetition also arises when it comes to the definitions of terms, and with long descriptive paragraphs of specific cases. Both undermine the book’s presentation.
The book’s organization is also scattered. Some chapters detail specific methods of healing; others are without clear themes. Single-sentence descriptions of photographs are included next to the pictures rather than below them, interrupting the text proper. The book’s charts and graphs are blurry, obscuring otherwise valuable information. Still, while it most directly speaks to an audience of hospice doctors, and to those whose patients have wounds that won’t heal, the book’s language is accessible, and its terms and methodologies are ably defined.
Hear Our Cry is a medical memoir that includes powerful images and provocative examples of limb salvaging successes, all to make a compelling and emotional argument for biotherapy and compassion in wound care.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.