Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kazuko Uno Bill Interview II
Narrator: Kazuko Uno Bill
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 11, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-bkazuko-02-0002

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MA: I wanted to ask about, a little bit more about your medical college, and if you felt that because it was an all-women's institution, that if you, did you feel like they had a certain approach towards training, preparing you for being a woman in the medical field? Or did they sort of tailor their curriculum towards women's issues more?

KB: In some ways, I think our basic training was pretty general, but they did have a strong program for women's diseases, obstetrics and women's diseases. Maybe I should talk about my experience when I was on the obstetrics service.

MA: Sure.

KB: There was a program in which one of us went out to a very poor section of Philadelphia. The school had a clinic established in this section, and it so happened that some of us were privileged to do home deliveries when the patient became pregnant and was ready to deliver a baby. And I talked to Ruby about this one time and she says she doesn't remember doing that, but I had to go out and deliver a baby in a home. And of course, a professor was with me, so I didn't have to go by myself. I think that would have been kind of scary. And it gave me a chance to see some of the conditions in a poor section. This was in, of course, a black neighborhood that was close to the downtown Philadelphia area. The professor, I remember telling me, "If you wear a white coat and carry a black bag, you'll never have to worry about walking on the streets in this section," because they respected the doctors. And I just remember all that because it was kind of a scary situation to go into a poor black neighborhood in those days, when there was a lot of conflicts going on.

MA: How did people in that community receive you or treat you?

KB: Well, as far as the patient went, she was very... what's the word? She was very grateful to us for taking care of her, and had a real nice baby.

MA: What were some of the conditions like that you saw in these areas?

KB: Well, actually, the home that I visited was not too bad. It was a small home and it was clean, and the room was prepared, it must have been prepared by a nurse from our hospital, so that things were sanitary. And actually, we didn't see any other part of the home, but the streets were not that nice. I mean, there was garbage or trash around, you wondered if you were walking at night in that area, what it would be like.

MA: Did these people not, what was the access for them to hospitals and stuff? Was it pretty common to have a home delivery like that, during that time and in that type of community?

KB: I think so. If the patient had no problems, if there were some problems that came up during the pregnancy, they would have to have delivery in the hospital. But if things were just going normally and without any problems, then it was acceptable to have it in the home. I think it was still acceptable in many places. I think I told you that my brothers and sister were born at home. So this was... actually, people thought nothing of having a baby at one time. [Laughs]

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.