“Remember: people—and animals”

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 01 February 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:263
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    I once took a job in the tropics, and my employer sent me for a medical examination to check that I was fit for hardship. My medical was just like the one that Marlowe underwent in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, before he went out to the Belgian Congo.

    Marlowe was in Brussels for his medical—a city, he says, that “always makes me think of a whited sepulchre.” And then he adds, “Prejudice no doubt.” I confess to a similar prejudice. Brussels shows us our glorious future: bureaucracy and sex shows.

    Marlowe is told that the medical is a simple formality, just as I was told it was. And so, indeed, it proves and proved.

    Marlowe's …

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