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We are both doctors: an Israeli doctor writes to a Palestinian colleague

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 13 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5023
  1. A Mark Clarfield, Sidonie Hecht professor of geriatrics, Department of Geriatrics, Soroka Hospital, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-sheva 84101, Israel; adjunct professor, McGill University, Montréal, Québec
  1. markclar{at}

A Mark Clarfield reflects on life in a war zone, sharing his thoughts on the violence with an imagined Palestinian colleague in Gaza. Read a Palestinian doctor’s response (BMJ 2014;349:g5106, doi:10.1136/bmj.g5106)

Dear colleague

We are both doctors. We have both trained long and hard, perhaps even in the same institutions at some point in our careers. Both of us have longed to practice our art and work daily to perfect it. Because we are both doctors, we want people to stay well, and, if they sicken or are injured, to recover quickly and fully. We both want medicine to advance on both sides of our fraught border and maybe even one day to work together on a research project. As a geriatrician I can imagine frail older people on both sides of the border, scurrying for shelter and some not making it.

We are both doctors. Although we will each have our own political opinions and interpretations of our shared history, these are ours alone and have nothing to do with our profession. I know that on our side, when called upon, we look after Palestinian patients from Gaza in peace and …

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