Reaching Past the Wire: A Nurse at Abu Ghraib

TitleReaching Past the Wire: A Nurse at Abu Ghraib
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsGermain, Deanna, and Connie Lounsbury
Number of Pages214
PublisherBorealis Books
CitySt. Paul

Lt. Col. Deanna Germain offers an account of life as a nursing supervisor behind the fortified gates of Abu Ghraib. Her duty: To treat Iraqi prisoners in need of medical attention. Shortly after she arrived, the notorious prison made headlines around the world for abuses that had stopped months before. Despite unbearable heat, frequent mortar attacks, medical supply shortages, substandard facilities, the relentless stench of war, sleepless nights quartered in a tiny prison cell, and constant reminders that all detainees were to be considered dangerous, Germain served the medical needs of each of her patients diligently, with respect and even humor, to the best of her ability. In this crucible of wartime stress, workplace turmoil, and cultural uncertainty, Germain found herself forging powerful connections with colleagues and translators. She learned from translators about normal Iraqi families struggling to survive impossible conditions. And after vowing to avoid personal relationships with prisoners, she became a comfort to many. Duty and compassion, camaraderie and hope all helped to pull her through.

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