11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 1 June 2007
Kidder's account of Dr. Paul Farmer's work on curing infectious diseases among the poor inspires a renewed sense of hope that a small group, and even just one person, can truly make a difference. The commitment Dr. Farmer and others working with him have shown are truly awesome. A great read!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2014
As other reviewers have mentioned, the story of the hospitals and work in Haiti plods along. You don't get the urgency and passion of the mission which one sees when Paul Farmer tells the story on video interviews and lectures.
on 22 August 2015
I should have read this book when I was a first year medical student. Anyways its never too late. Thus book was recommended to me by a couple who does much similar work on comprehensive public health in one of the poorest villages in India for the past 20 years.( Tribal Health Initiative, Sittilingi, Dharmapuri, Tamilnadu, India). God gave wealth and knowledge only to few people with the belief that they will take the responsibility of helping others.....
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2009
Very inspiring book about Dr Paul Farmer, humanitarian, founder of PIH, specialized in the fight against multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Haiti, and subsequently in Peru and Siberian prisons.
The last chapter is particularly inspiring. Several themes are tackled:
1. The concept of "Triage" illustrated by the story of John, a young boy transferred to America at a very high costs, a sum of money that could have potentially saved several life. That decision was probably not efficient but it was full of humanity.
"If we could identify losers like John, and not waste time and energy on them, then we'd be all good, as they say in the States. But the point of O for P is that you never do that. You never risk that. Because before you turn your back on someone like John, you have to be really sure...
2. The importance of keeping yourself motivated:
To continue to move forward and make a difference, one needs to be driven, one needs to stay human. Sometimes, Paul Farmer might act somewhat foolishly (or more exactly spend time on non-efficient activities like his long, time-consuming hikes), but that is the way he gets his energy to be serving others.
"Standard notions of efficiency, notions of cost-effectiveness, about big people performing his jobs, haven't worked so well themselves."
"If you focus on individual patients, you can't get sloppy"
3. The concept of the "Journey".
It can probably be quite demoralizing to face such a huge task. I understand that Paul Farmer gets his strength from every patient he will care for, even if there are another thousands to care.
"I don't care if we lose, I'm gonna try to do the right thing".
"People from our background, we are used to being on a victory team, and actually what we're really trying to do in PIH is to make common cause with losers. We want to be on the winning team, but at the risk of turning our backs on the losers, it's not worth it. So you fight the long defeat."
"It seems to me that [Paul Farmer] didn't have a plan for his life, so much as he had a pattern"
"This person is sick, and I am a doctor"
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2013
I cannot recommended another non-fiction read more than this. The work Dr Paul Farmer and the members of PIH do is astounding, it seems like a fairy-tale until you Google all the characters and prove its all real.