Terry Ratner RN, BS, MFA - nurse, writer, educator - click to return home
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Nurses' Corner
Personal Memoir



Nursing the Enemy

Reaching Past the Wire:
A Nurse at Abu Ghraib
by Deanna Germain Lieutenant Colonel. USAR (RET.)
with Connie Lounsbury

This isn't another chronicle about war or the military-it's a book about place, people, and Deanna Germain's mission in Iraq. For four months, Germain, a 53-year-old grandmother, nurse practitioner, and Army reservist from Minnesota, was stationed at Iraq's infamous Abu Ghraib prison. In her new book, Germain with the assistance of freelance writer, Lounsbury, chronicles her experiences tending to the wounds of Iraqi prisoners.

Reaching Past the Wire is a clear-eyed account of life as a nursing supervisor behind the gates at Abu Ghraib, a story about wartime in Iraq, with all its uncertainty, turmoil, and stress. Despite temperatures up to 120 degrees, frequent mortar attacks, medical supply shortages, substandard facilities, and a constant reminder that all detainees were considered dangerous, Germain served the medical needs of Iraqi prisoners with respect, professionalism, and sometimes humor-to the best of her ability.

The author's story brings not only the reality of war home, but the aftereffects. "Amazingly, I felt unsafe in my safe, quiet suburb. I didn't have my weapon. I didn't have my gear, and no one was guarding the bridges when we drove." The result of her experiences-a book that puts a human face on war, showing how it affects us all, no matter what side we are on.

Borealis Books
$24.95 (hardcover)
Proceeds from her book benefit the Fisher House Foundation