"BOILING OIL"
(snapshot dated August, 1966)

Virginia Butler, Dr. Maurice Butler's wife, must be one of the most lively, good-humored folks ever to pass through Yerba Buena. Frequently she wrote interesting features for the Newsletter. Here is her contribution to the August, l966 issue, which appeared under the title "Rx: BOILING OIL, POURED OVER AREA; DRINK ALL OF A BOTTLE OF BALSAM; TAKE ALL OF A BOTTLE OF CASTOR OIL -- A LITTLE HELP FROM GRANNY MIDWIFE... ":

"She is ready to deliver? Yes, I'll be right down."

Upon entering the delivery room: "But Concha, what happened?"

"I don't know, SeƱora, but she appears to be terribly burned."

The perineum was one mass of huge blisters -- they stood up from the body a full inch in depth. They extended from front to back. The patient was apparently suffering, but not in the degree one would imagine for the extent of the burn. She was fully conscious and cooperative. Within a short time, but not without some difficulty, the baby arrived -- alive, to our surprise.

After mother and baby were settled in their room we asked some questions. "What happened before you came here?" "Oh, the 'abuelita' (granny midwife) tried to help me, but nothing seemed to do any good." "What did she do?" "She made me drink a bottle full of Balsam." (This is a liquid oil they use to anoint the body -- is never to be taken internally!) "What else did you take?" "They gave me Castor Oil. Still the baby wouldn't come. I've been in labor three days!" "But what caused all those terrible burns you have with such swelling? What did they do to you?" "They poured hot oil over me. I don't know why." "Is that all they did?" "No, they did something inside, too -- I don't know what. And they charged us $600.00 too." This husband probably earns 6 or 7 pesos a day! We were sure this poor abused woman would have a severe infection -- but strange to say, she developed hardly any fever, and within 5 or 6 days was ready to go home. The baby did fine and appeared to be normal in spite of the fact that the mother was apparently somewhat below par.

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