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February 05 , 2010

My Journey to Freedom


“My Journey to Freedom” is a tale of a young girl growing up in war torn Romania and her trials and efforts to become a physician and practice medicine in communist Romania and free America. On her plane flight to freedom, she reflects on the difficult years as a young girl growing up in Romania, during turbulent times. Born to two Jewish physicians her comfortable life is soon shattered by war. Initially, the hardships of rationing give way to the terror of Jewish persecution and the destruction of combat.
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After the war, she becomes a doctor and is sent to a country practice in a nation now under communist control. She vividly recounts her practice of medicine under difficult, bureaucratic and sometimes primitive conditions. Her story is peppered with heart wrenching medical cases about trying to provide optimal health care, under these difficult circumstances.

Finally, arriving in America, she pursues her desire to continue her professional practice and recounts her struggle to achieve this goal. Again, the personal medical stories help demonstrate that her passion and dedication she showed in Romania are carried to her new country. Her new family of patients, though of different means, shows adulation very similar to the more country peasants. Though there are many stark contrasts between her practice under communist rule and that of her American practice, there is a similarity of physician dedication and effort, and in return the patients’ appreciation and gratitude.

I much enjoyed this book and found it very entertaining and well done. It was quite interesting to see the ravages of WWII through a young Jewish girl’s eyes. I especially liked reading about the specific medical cases and viewing them in the context of the hardships, frustrations and challenges brought about the practice of medicine in an isolated rural area, under communist rule. I also took pleasure in learning about the contrasts and similarities in the medical care and technology in a communist controlled, relatively primitive area and time, versus that of modern treatment in America. I delighted in the revelations that despite stark differences between these two settings, doctor dedication and patient gratitude remains reassuringly very similar.

Jeffrey Hahn, M.D. Diplomate in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology
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