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Doctors and climate change: “you played at rapid sequence induction while my world burned”

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 16 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g119
  1. Jeph Mathias, climate change adviser, Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA) India, c/o Landour Community Hospital, Landour, Mussoorie 248179, Uttarakhand, India
  1. jephmathias{at}

After medical training and work in the developed and developing world, Jeph Mathias is helping communities in rural India to live with climate induced stress

I felt totally out of place in the Auckland Medical School student cafeteria amid the carefree faces, understated T shirts, and faded jeans. I had just arrived back from two years’ volunteering at Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying in Kolkata and teaching during apartheid in South Africa, and I thought I couldn’t last long, certainly not five years. A young woman in a gaudy salwaar-kameez radiated non-conformity. I headed over. “Hi! What are you doing here?” I said.

We randomly pieced our lives together, drifting from my upbringing as a swotty kid in an Indian immigrant family in suburban Auckland, to hers as a kiwi in India and Nepal, diverting ourselves into a eulogy to Kolkata’s Lower Circular Road and its functional chaos, laughing about quirky rituals from my Cambridge undergraduate years, and yearning dreamily of summiting romantic South Island peaks like Aspiring and Stargazer.

Recognising in each other companions similarly attracted to the beautiful, violent, ugly, delightful, unjust, exciting world, we haphazardly lashed …

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