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Views & Reviews Review of the Week

The unknown patients

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 03 February 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c652
  1. Brodie Ramin, family medicine resident, University of Ottawa
  1. bramin{at}

    A novel by a US emergency doctor about escape from “the empty rhythms of career and success” to a foreign land and unfamiliar patients impresses Brodie Ramin

    A tiny girl, Homa, is at the heart of this graceful novel by Frank Huyler, a US emergency doctor. We learn very little about her world, the mountains of an impoverished Islamic country. We see only for an instant her family, her home, and the life set out for her. But we witness in great detail the moment when Charles Anderson, a US cardiologist volunteering in her land, amputates her foot with only simple instruments in a makeshift clinic.

    Right of Thirst, Huyler’s third book, is based on a real life event. As a medical student in the early 1990s Huyler trekked through the mountains of northern Pakistan. On his way down from the mountains …

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