Upcoming release, non-fiction:
On the Ragged Edge of Medicine by Patricia Kullberg, MD, MPH
Available March 2017 – Oregon State University Press
On the Ragged Edge of Medicine offers a unique and personal glimpse into a medical practice for the homeless and urban poor in Portland, Oregon. Told through fifteen patient vignettes and drawn from the author’s decades of experience on the front lines, this revealing memoir illuminates the impact of poverty on the delivery of health services and the ways in which people adapt and survive (or don’t survive) in conditions of abuse and deprivation. Kullberg’s stories show the direct and sometimes devastating effects of poverty on personal health, poignantly demonstrating that medicine is as much a social enterprise as a scientific one.
This collection of narratives is filled with questions about the realities people face in their everyday lives and the inadequacies of medicine to remedy them. A life-saving procedure is refused without explanation; an agoraphobic woman suffers silently and fails to cope; an accidental overdose takes another life. Delving into her daily interactions with patients, Kullberg muses on the impact of scarce resources, the ways she managed to succeed, the fall-out of her own mistakes, and the strategies she used to keep her sanity.
Written for anyone interested in the limits and possibilities of medicine within a context of social inequity, On the Ragged Edge of Medicine draws the reader into the big tragedies, small victories, and everyday mishaps of medicine when ministering to the destitute.
Available Now, historical fiction:
Girl in the River by Patricia Kullberg
It’s the middle of the twentieth century and Portland has fallen into the hands of gangsters. Newly orphaned Mae Rose wanders the rain-stained streets alone, on the lam from a knife wielding pimp, mustering her own worst impulses to survive. As Mae rises in Portland’s gritty sex industry, she’s pursued by a district attorney who wants to ensnare her for more personal reasons. Meanwhile, Dr. Ruth Barnett, queen of Portland’s nightlife, runs a lucrative abortion service and it is she who eventually provides the refuge that Mae seeks. After the war, both women are caught in the cross hairs of anti-vice crusader Dottie “Do-good” Lee. Their survival will depend on their ability to outsmart the cops and politicians who no longer protect them.
Girl in the River is a portrait of the intimate lives of women during one of the most corrupt periods in Portland history. It’s an unflinching look at the power dynamics of sex. A glimpse into the work life of a call girl. An improbable love story. The tale of post-war assaults on reproductive rights. And a tribute to two remarkable and remarkably different women who shaped the lives of Portlanders during those tumultuous times: Dr. Ruth Barnett and Mayor Dorothy Lee. MORE INFORMATION