When doctor meets dictator

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 11 January 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:100
  1. Chloe Veltman, freelance journalist, San Francisco

    Where does a doctor's responsibility as a civilian begin and his duty as a doctor end? Chloe Veltman is impressed by a film that grapples with this uncomfortable issue

    When a homely, Scottish general practitioner raises a glass to toast his son's graduation from medical school, he little expects the heir to the family's doctoring tradition to wind up administering care to sick children in a remote part of Uganda, let alone becoming complicit in the local despot's killing spree. But with the prospect of treating little old ladies for gout in Edinburgh appealing to Nicholas Garrigan about as much as his mother's watery stew, The Last King of Scotland's adventurous, young protagonist goes to Uganda to offer his services as a physician, with little notion that he'll be arriving smack bang in the middle of a military coup.

    It is this mixture of spirited gung ho and political naiveté that makes Garrigan a dictator's medical wet dream. As director Kevin Macdonald demonstrates in his taut screen adaptation of Giles Foden's …

    View Full Text

    Log in

    Log in through your institution


    * For online subscription