Father Damien: An Open Letter to the Reverend Dr Hyde of HonoluluBMJ 2011; 343 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d4417 (Published 13 July 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4417
- Barry Newport, sessional general practitioner
In 1889, Robert Louis Stevenson made a seven day visit to a leper colony on the small Hawaiian island of Molokai. It was a harrowing and deeply moving experience. Stevenson interviewed many people about a Belgian Catholic priest known as Father Damien, who spent the last 16 years of his life among the lepers, improving their conditions by helping to build cottages and a chapel, as well as ministering to their spiritual and medical needs. Eventually Father Damien contracted leprosy himself, dying at the age of 49, one month before Stevenson’s …
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