Views & Reviews Medical Classics

Doctor at Dien-Bien-Phu

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 24 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:963
  1. Robert M Bruce-Chwatt, Richmond, Surrey
  1. robert{at}

This medical Calvary begins in the small town of Dien-Bien-Phu in northeast Vietnam in February 1954, towards the end of the first Indochina war between French Union forces and Vietnamese communist forces. Dr Paul Grauwin, waiting for a transport ship back to France, volunteers to spend two weeks with the garrison at Dien-Bien-Phu. He flies in and is then trapped, by the military situation and by the desperate moral situation of attending to the medical needs of the injured and dying. Viet Minh leader General Giap uses classic siege tactics to surround and overwhelm the French. As the outer …

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