Year: 1979 Setting: George Washington University Hospital Position: Intern In sharing my global health background, I would be remiss if I did not talk about some of my American experience. After all, Washington, D.C., is remote from Palo Alto and Paris! I am in my late 20s and an intern at George Washington University as an exchange student from Brazil. My mentor, Stanley Talpers, MD, has organized a rotating program for the interns, ...

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Year: 2002 Setting: Gleneagles Hospital, Singapore Position: Private general practitioner I am the first and only non-Anglo-Saxon, foreign, private general practitioner in the city-state and the physician of reference for 14 embassies, consulates and a high commission from Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. One afternoon, a nurse comes into my consulting room saying that an ambassador from a European country has had an accident and that he insists on being seen immediately. I ...

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Year: 1988 Setting: Electricite de France clinic at Daya Bay, China Position: Resident physician A Japanese encephalitis epidemic has struck southern China and I am in its midst at Daya Bay where Electricite de France is building a nuclear plant for the Chinese government. As the resident physician for the company, I see the local employees and their families. They all get immunized against the disease with the inactivated virus Biken vaccine, ...

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Year: 1987 Setting: Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris, France Position: Specialist in tropical diseases I am a consultant in tropical diseases at the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris in professor Marc Gentilini’s department, which has been receiving HIV/AIDS patients from all parts of the world since the onset of the pandemic. Indeed, in the early days most patients came from Haiti and Africa and were seen primarily in tropical disease ...

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Year: 1986 Place: Lome, Togo Position: Consultant in tropical diseases, Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris I have been sent to West Africa by a French multinational drug company to share information from recent clinical trials about a new anti-emetic compound. It is late November and I am in Togo, midway through a tour that includes Senegal, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Gabon and Congo. The day I land in Lome, I take a much-needed break by hitting ...

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Year: 1993 Setting: Mendi Hospital, Southern Highlands province, Papua New Guinea Position: Chief medical officer for Chevron Chevron is contributing to the budget of Mendi Hospital in the capital city of the Southern Highlands province. Each year, the hospital director sends a financial request to the company’s medical department, and this is my first time to review and approve it. Curious about how the money will be used, I phone the director to ...

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Year: 1984 Setting: Ouesso, Congo Position: Timber consortium medical expert We landed in Brazzaville and took a private jet to Pointe Noire where we spent the night. The next day, the group is assigned six 4x4 Toyotas to take through the Mayombe Mountains, Brazzaville and the plateau to reach Ouesso near the Cameroon border. The journey is eventful, particularly when I drove the pickup truck into a river from a bridge to avoid children ...

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Year: 1994 Setting: Port Moresby General Hospital, Papua New Guinea Position: Chief medical officer for Chevron Oil Co. The wife of an expatriate employee has injured her arm and, suspecting that she has fractured her left elbow, I accompany her to the Port Moresby hospital for further evaluation. The building looks good and new. In fact, it was recently donated to Papua New Guinea by the Japanese government. While waiting for the X-rays, I ...

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Among the many differences between the U.S. and the French health-care systems is the approach to medical training. While U.S. medical school graduates in 2008 had an average debt of $154,000, French medical students receive their training virtually for free. For example, first-year medical students at the Faculte de Medecine Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris have only one mandatory cost for this year: an enrollment fee of $264. The amount ...

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