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Mass Listeria: The Meaning of Health Scares

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 21 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:947
  1. Abi Berger, science editor
  1. BMJ

    Theodore Dalrymple Andre Deutsch, £8.99, pp 157 ISBN 0 233 99137 9

    One of the recurring puzzles that led me to try my hand at public health medicine was the “revolving door” phenomenon. It was beginning to dawn on me how frustrating it is to help “save” a patient in extremis—from chronic airway disease, say—only to watch the patient return to hospital a few weeks later in exactly the same acute state.

    Arguably a little slow on the uptake, I had worked in Britain, the Solomon Islands, and New Zealand before realizing that these personal reflections were being played out in a similar fashion everywhere I went. On my return to Britain I took a step back and viewed the scene from the vantage point of public …

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