Article excerpt

She was an absolute nobody in most anyone's estimation, but, then again, so was I. She was a pregnant 16-year-old awaiting her first obstetrical clinic visit at the County Hospital. I was the lone practicing Catholic resident physician in this renowned County Hospital Family Practice training program, maintaining adequate obscurity, stealthily avoiding prescribing the pill, participating in sterilizations, and the like.

Any of the other three resident physicians on the Obstetrical Service might have become involved in this patient's case as we efficiently worked up the fifty new obstetrical patients scheduled for this once-a-week, half-day clinic. The nurse gave me the heads-up as I reached for the chart: "Sixteen-year-old foster child raped on her sixteenth birthday by an older foster boy in the household . . . likely story."

I found her seated on the exam table in the obligatory exam gown, her eyes quickly welling with tears. The fleeting eye contact and positioning of her hands over her slightly protuberant lower abdomen, unconsciously shielding her now twenty-week pregnancy, gave me a different impression. In as non-threatening a manner as possible I began by addressing the clinical questions required for the history. It quickly became apparent that I was in the presence of a completely believable and heroic young woman who had made the decision to keep this pregnancy despite incredible circumstances. My heart went out to her immediately with supernatural affection. During the course of my evaluation she recognized my compassion and relaxed, the beauty and meekness of her soul flowing out to my privileged spirit. At the end of the visit I asked if she wished me to manage her entire obstetrical care by making her one of my own personal patients and her answer was a joyous "yes! …


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