Chapter Summary

Birth is an inspirational story written by A.J. Cronin that showcases the ups and downs of a new doctor’s career and personal life. The doctor here visits an old couple’s house at a very late hour of the night. That night, the couple was expecting a baby within a few hours. The doctor waits during the labour of the mother and thinks about Barnwell and his employer Dr Page and their hurtful personal life. These thoughts pull him back to his personal life when he had an argument with his girlfriend. Andrew, the doctor, finally attends to the pregnant woman and starts treating her. This is a critical pregnancy as they are having the baby after 20 years of their marriage. The baby is born at last after an hour of struggle. However, the baby is born lifeless as it looks white and pale. Andrew first treats the mother and then he attempts to treat the child. He cannot recover the child with his textbook knowledge and at last, he recovers him with his intuition. He breaks the news to the father by himself after the whole treatment. This gives him a sense of achievement for the first time in his medical career.

“I have done something; oh, God! I’ve done something real at last.” Why does Andrew say this? What does it mean?

Andrew Manson did not handle any cases in his life as he was a medical fresher. He had recently started his medical journey as Dr Edward Page’s assistant. A doctor is a noble professional and everyone wants to make a significant impact on society by saving lives. However, being a fresher, he didn’t face many instances where he can get the chance to save lives. Finally, he got a chance to do something significant by treating Joe Morgan’s pregnant wife. She had a difficult pregnancy and nearly after 20 years of marriage, they were expecting a baby.

The baby boy was born nearly after an hour’s struggle, but he was lifeless. Andrew was horrified by this instance as the couple was eager about the pregnancy. Moreover, Mrs Morgan was unconscious and in a very critical state. The doctor started treating the child after treating his mother. The nurse was persistent about the thought that the baby will not live. However, after more than another 15 minutes of struggle, the baby came to life with a lot of treatment. Dr Manson, in his medical career, first saved someone’s life. This gave him a sense of achievement and therefore he said the mentioned line to himself.

Difference between textbook medicine and the world of a practising physician - Discuss.

The textbook medicine can be treated as science but the practised physician performs the art. The artist needs to be aware of the fact and rules of the science. That means he needs to be aware of the textbook medicine to perform as a physician. However, depending upon the situation the art of handling it needs to be changed. This is what happened in the story Birth written by A.J. Cronin. Young doctor Andrew Manson was handling a critical pregnancy case where the mother delivered a lifeless boy.

It was a difficult case but the young doctor did not lose hope. He applied all his textbook knowledge to treat the child. First, he thought it was asphyxia and performed all the necessary treatments on the child. The nurse finally told Andrew to give up when he did not respond at all to the treatment. Andrew did not listen to the nurse and decided to work intuitively. He rubbed the little child’s back with a towel while putting and lifting pressure in and from the child’s chest with his hands.

The lifeless child lived by the end with the intuitive art performed by the young doctor. This proves that textbook medicine is the basic requirement to become a practised physician. However, the miracle happens when doctors become an artist and solve their patients’ problems intuitively.

Discuss any medical procedures such as organ transplant and organ regeneration that are used to save human life.

There are many instances where a so-called dead man came back to life with medical help. Organ transplantation plays a significant role in these types of instances. The organ first needs to be donated by an organ donor, in this scenario. The organ receiver or the family of the organ receiver needs to have legal consent from the organ donor. Once the organ donor agrees to donate the organ, the donor may receive monetary compensation for the donation. The receiver needs to have some genetic or blood group similarities with the donor in case of some organ transplantation. The organ regeneration process comes after the organ transplantation process. Some organs like the liver get regenerated after donating it. The organ donor can live his previously normal life after a few months.


Q1. How did Andrew treat Susan?

Ans. The baby’s mother, Susan, was unconscious after giving birth to the baby. Andrew first took medicine from a glass ampule and then injected it into her body. He then threw away the hypodermic injection syringe and tried to revive Susan.

Q2. Why Susan’s mother was afraid?

Ans. The doctor first saw Susan’s mother when she served him tea. That was when he understood she was nervous and afraid. He guessed that the reason could be the long duration of time they had to wait till the baby was born.

Q3. How did Andrew treat the new born as per his textbook knowledge?

Ans. The lifeless child looked white and pale that indicated a lack of oxygen. Andrew recalled a case in the Samaritan that was similar to it. He instructed the nurse to bring hot and cold water. He then gave the child artificial respiration by putting him on a blanket and dipping him alternatively in the hot and cold water.

Updated on: 04-Jan-2023


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