Reviews Book

Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 20 November 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:1232
  1. Boleslav L Lichterman (
  1. Centre for the History of Medicine, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Moscow, Russia

    I was once lucky enough to meet and correspond with Dr Roy Selby (1930-2002), a retired neurosurgeon from Texarkana, Texas. In the 1960s Dr Selby spent seven years in Malaysia, where he built the country's first hospital for neurosurgery. He wrote in one of his last letters: “I discussed with the US ambassador at the time the possibility of the Dept of State providing aid to establish a new medical school, utilising Malaysian personnel. He said something like, ‘Hell, if we do it we'll do the whole thing.’ That is how our government destroys so many overseas ventures—not supporting or [not] allowing the local people to run things. This is another form of aggression.”

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    Paul Farmer

    University of California Press, £18.95/$27.50, pp 402

    ISBN 0520235509

    Rating: GraphicGraphicGraphic

    Dr Selby would certainly have enjoyed this book by Paul Farmer, a professor of medical anthropology at Harvard Medical School and founding director of Partners in Health, a non-governmental organisation “created to remediate inequalities in access to modern health care.” Farmer and his colleagues set up a …

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