Saturday, October 10, 2015


While this is not directly related to my journey, it is about medicine.

Many years ago, after my fellowship, I looked into volunteering for Doctors Without Borders. It was as the war in Bosnia was heating up. I had no dependents at the time, and knew that, as a surgeon, the greatest demand might be in a war zone. I mentioned that I knew two Slavic languages. As it worked out, I did not end up as a volunteer. But, I have followed the activities of both MSF (Doctors Without Borders) and EMERGENCY, a similar group. So, it greatly disturbed me that a US airstrike had repeatedly hit a MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan (

As a physician, I take seriously the responsibility of caring for all, even at some risk to myself. I have worked in inner city hospitals where I have been threatened by some gangs, but, excused that due to the drug induced impairment of those who threatened me. And, I have known that many would not have wanted to harm me, knowing that they might later need my services.

International law protects hospitals, both military and civilian, from deliberate attack. Physicians should provide impartial care, and thus, might provide care to both civilians and combatants. Like my experiences in the inner city, those who wage war are at risk of injury, and so they want hospitals and physicians who will care for them. That is why the events of last week are so disturbing. Despite the coordinates of the MSF hospital being provided, there were several bombing runs targeting the hospital reported. Hence, MSF is asking for an investigation of a possible war crime (

The US has bombed hospitals before (, and is not alone in this (; Civilians have increasingly become the victims of war during the last century.

I hope the truth about this event will come out. And, that a hospital can be rebuilt for the people of the region.

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