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November 26 , 2008

Band-Aid for a Broken Leg

Being a doctor with no borders and other ways to stay single


Damien Brown, a young Australian doctor, thinks he's ready when he arrives for his first posting with Medecins Sans Frontieres in Africa. But the town he's sent to is an isolated outpost of mud huts, surrounded by landmines; the hospital, for which he's to be the only doctor, is filled with malnourished children and conditions he's never seen; and the health workers - Angolan war veterans twice his age and who speak no English - walk out on him following an altercation on his first shift.
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In the months that follow, Damien confronts these challenges all the while dealing with the social absurdities of living with only three other volunteers for company. The medical calamities pile up - a leopard attack, a landmine explosion, and having to perform surgery using tools cleaned on the fire being among them - but it's through Damien's evolving friendships with the local people that his passion for the work grows.

Band-Aid for a Broken Leg is a powerful, sometimes heart-breaking, often funny, always honest and ultimately uplifting account of life on the medical frontline in Angola, Mozambique and South Sudan. It is also a moving testimony of the work done by medical humanitarian groups and the extraordinary and sometimes eccentric people who work for them.

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