Views & Reviews Personal views

Not even a dog's life

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 22 March 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:638
  1. Raymond Towey, consultant anaesthetist (
  1. Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, St Mary's Hospital Lacor, Gulu, Uganda

    Perhaps I should put it down to culture shock from re-entry into Britain. In the past 14 years of working in East Africa as a medical missionary I have had many opportunities to experience that special bittersweet sense of detachment you have when arriving back in your own country, and you realise that you are a stranger to it and see your own culture through the eyes of an alien. With practice, you can overcome this feeling in a short time, before you make too many social gaffes that leave your friends and family glancing at each other in embarrassment.

    Africa's rural areas must be among the poorest in the world in terms of medical resources, and statistics indicate that life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa is equivalent to that in 1840 in England and Wales. This has a particular poignancy for me as an anaesthetist, because …

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