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Book Review: “Steeped In Blood: The Life And Times Of A Forensic Scientist”

This post is a bit of a diversion from my usual posts, but I think it may still be worthwhile. You see, I want to promote a book.

I’ve just read the book, “Steeped in Blood: The Life and Times of a Forensic Scientist” by David Klatzow. What a stunning book. It really gives insight into the South Africa of old and possibly what South Africa of future may end up being like. I suggest that everyone get ahold of it and read it.

However, David, I do feel I must challenge you on one point. Towards the end of your book, you say one of your surgeon friends told you a story of one of our Cuban import surgeons who tried to do a tonsillectomy through the neck rather than through the mouth, the normal way of doing it. I know this story and have heard it often myself in the corridors in Pretoria. Unfortunately it’s urban legend and nothing more.

I have worked with the Cubans, and they aren’t too shabby. Don’t get me wrong — they aren’t a scratch on a South African specialist (although the standards are dropping as you rightly point out, and quite soon they may be far better than homegrown specialists), but the point is that they wouldn’t do something so bizarrely stupid. I even suspect I know who your surgeon friend might be, especially if he presently finds himself in Pretoria rather than Johannesburg, where you no doubt got to know him.

Anyway, still an absolutely brilliant read for anyone who wants to get a peek into the workings of the apartheid government of old. Go and buy it now.

*This blog post was originally published at other things amanzi*

Grand Rounds From The Shores Of South Africa

It’s not just the soccer world cup that’s on South African shores, but the great Grand Rounds (something that some would say is far more important than the world cup — okay, only one guy would actually say that, and he’s in a psychiatric institution in Outer Mongolia) is also presently hosted in South Africa! Proudly South African!

Time to see what the bloggers have dished up for us this week. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at other things amanzi*

Heard Around The MedBlogosphere 4.12.09

Some fascinating posts from our blogging colleagues this week…

1. First up, Better Health’s favorite South African surgeon, Bongi, describes how his government is planning to credential traditional healers as physicians. He offers a sample of their history and physical forms:


Check out the comments section of this blog post for more commentary. Apparently “evidence-based medicine” is not honored in the US or in South Africa.

2. Happy, the cantankerous hospitalist, discusses the cold, hard facts about the costs of healthcare, and suggests that we should ration care based on personal lifestyle decisions. In other words, smokers who get lung cancer should not be eligible for Medicare. Check out the comments section for one very spicy conversation.

3. Anesthesiologist Joe, from the Book of Joe, always has interesting tidbits on his blog. My favorite three of the week: 1) A Silicon Valley baby onesie, 2) A Chanel bag made of beef jerky, and 3) a black bear sleeping bag. Check them out! (Here’s a sneak preview of the bear:)


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