7 inspiring books affirming the eminence of humanitarian medicine

Humanitarian medicine gets very little attention in the headlines and in public discourse. Defined by low-profile diseases and simple technologies, it is often depicted in small print and postscripts. The stories of healthcare practitioners saving limb and life in the trenches of war zones and in the slums of refugee camps are not the stuff of social media or magazine covers.

CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

But the high ideals of medical practice are arguably best embodied by humanitarian medicine. This form of medicine is after all founded on the inestimable sacrifice of men and women who forgo personal comforts and material prospects to treat the poor and the dispossessed in the gloomiest corners of the world. Humanitarian medicine is also emblematic of the spiritual ethos of medical practice because people selflessly volunteer to put their lives at risk on dangerous missions to all sorts of theatres of conflict, natural disasters, and epidemic outbreaks

Azaz, Syria. Christian Triebert on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/christiaantriebert/7955551210

To celebrate this under-appreciated pillar of medicine, we will review 7 exceptional books which explore the altruism, courage, and passion that are the drivers of humanitarian medicine. It will be whirlwind adventure through these 7 inspiring books affirming the eminence of humanitarian medicine:


Hope in Hell

by Dan Bortolotti


One by One by One

by Aaron Berkowitz


The World’s Emergency Room

by Michael Vanrooyen


The Hospital by the River

by Catherine Hamlin


War Doctor

by David Nott


Fever, Feuds, and Diamonds

by Paul Farmer


An Imperfect Offering

by James Orbinski

So stay tuned as we kick off next week with Hope in Hell.

Somali refugees in Dolo Ado, Ethiopia. UNICEF Ethiopia on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/unicefethiopia/8292879639/


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