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Latest Posts

Building A Hospital In Haiti

Partners in Health is building a state-of-the-art teaching medical facility in Mirebalais in Haiti’s underserved Central Plateau.

My niece Annie helped design the waste and water treatment systems of the project as part of her engineering internship with Northeastern University, and will be joining the Partners in Health group upon graduation. It’s so inspiring to see this wonderful project coming to fruition and to know that she’ll be part of it.

You can be part of it, too, by donating, volunteering or, like Annie, working for Partners in Health.

Partners in Health was founded by Dr. Paul Farmer and colleagues in 1987 to serve the poor in Haiti. Dr. Farmer’s story is the subject of Tracy Kidder’s new book “Mountains Beyond Mountains: One Doctor’s Quest to Heal the World.”

[Editor's note: Also see the NPR article "The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer."]

*This blog post was originally published at tbtam*

A Tribute To Hospital Volunteers

Here is a talk I gave last week to our hospital auxiliary association, mostly made up of retired volunteers. They give us so much, and this is my tribute to them.

Capacity, utility and volunteers

Thank you for letting me speak to you tonight. It is an honor. I have today been at two different ends of the medical world . Today at lunch, I spoke to a Christian Medical Student’s association at USC in Columbia, SC. And now, I am honored to speak to you, who do so much to keep the hospital functioning by your gift of volunteerism.

Tonight I want to talk about capacity and functionality. About utility and usefulness. In preparing to do so, I began to think about how I became the way I am, and my mind wandered to ancestry. I suppose that ancestry has much to do with who we are, though I doubt it is the sole determinant. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

Tweets From Doc Gurley In Haiti

She’s tweeting her medical mission in Haiti. So tragic are the unmet medical needs of these people. From Doc Gurley:

Saw an alone 9-month-pregnant 19 yr old. No birth kit, no string for the cord, no plan for who would be with her. Gave supplies+discussed how to ask helper to wash hands. Nothing sharp&clean for cord so gave scalpel. Acted out birth, w/handwashing.

Also saw woman with overwhelming postpartum uterus infection. Someone used hands at delivery to pull out pieces of placenta.

Saw 14yrold girl w/months of excruciating pain, mass in her lower belly, wasting. Ruptured appy? Tumor? Left her w/ narcotics, antibiotics.

Also, women do not have menstrual protection supplies:

I’ve been asked, if there are no pads, what do women use? In the cases I saw, one used a page of a magazine & another a dinner napkin.

God bless you, Doc Gurley, and the members of your team for all you’re doing. What can we do to help?

*This blog post was originally published at tbtam*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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