Shared Stories: Thank You and Goodbye

Dora Silvers recalls a dedicated doctor who worked night and day to provide needed treatment for her premature infant with hyaline membrane disease. Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center.  Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns
By Dora Silvers

I was reading the Press-Telegram and came across the obituary column for Dr. Brown McDonald, my obstetrician in 1958.  

I remember when I was expecting my fourth child, and Dr. McDonald said, “It would be nice if you had a girl, since you have three boys.”  My baby was due on March 30, but I went to the hospital on February 8.  

When he delivered my baby, Dr. McDonald said, “Dora, you have a little girl.”

I said, “Ouch!”

Dr. McDonald said, “I thought you wanted a girl.”

The nurse said, “Come back and catch the other baby.”

The reason I said “ouch” was because I was having another labor pain.  I delivered twins, a girl and a boy.  They were two minutes apart.  I was not expecting twins.

My son Neil was born with hyaline membrane disease.  This is when the mucous lines the lungs. President Kennedy lost a baby boy from this disease. The baby was put on a lung machine to drain the mucous, and it was on the TV news. But the baby died.

Dr. McDonald decided to drain the baby’s lungs manually with a syringe. Dr. McDonald was there night and day, for four days. On the fourth day, Dr. McDonald told me the baby was in good health. I would be able to take him home when he reached five pounds, which was in two weeks.

I believe that Dr. McDonald saved my baby’s life. Today Neil is 59 and has been running since he was 12. Neil and his twin sister ran a marathon in Huntington Beach on their 50th birthday.

I worked with the March of Dimes. Through research a preventative measure is taken. While the mother is pregnant, a test is given. Usually it is a premature male baby. A small amount of testosterone is injected into the baby. The baby is born without the lung problem.  

We have come a Long Way for Baby. That is the theme of the March of Dimes. I am sad to hear about my wonderful, caring doctor passing away.  I have such good memories of his dedication.