Doctors in general are type casted to fit a certain mold of the friendly family-man who helped you when you were a child. You typically grow up with this mental image of your first pediatrician and the way he gave you lollipops when you behaved yourself during traumatic incidents like shots. Doctors have typically been painted in the light of a saint, because for many people around the world, they have served to offer them a bit of humanity when the rest of the world turned their back. The doctors who have helped treat patients in Haiti, African nations, or even war and poverty-stricken area are some of the most outstanding individuals that modern society can produce.
One of the first books I read in college was entitled The Rape of Nanking, which chronicles the destruction that the Japanese army caused on the Chinese city of Nanking. Some of the main stories that stood out to me at the time (other than the fact that this huge massacre goes largely unnoticed in history books) was the account of the many Western doctors who offered their services to the residents, risking death in order to stay with their patients. Once the war fully broke out, most foreigners fled the city, although around 25 remained in order to provide some protection for the citizens, establishing the Nanking Safety Zone. The Zone itself was centered around the U.S. Embassy and was run by Nazi Party member John Rabe who was responsibility for saving nearly 200,000 Chinese citizens from death. While this is an example of an old historical event, it is still a telling sign of the dedication to many of these aid workers; the Westerners who remained in this zone were true humanitarians who risked death every day in order to provide their services to Chinese refugees.
These types of scenarios are still occurring around the world, with more and more doctors opting to work in non profit sectors, thereby bringing aid to disease ridden nations. Zimbabwe is one of the African nations which contains a multitude of illnesses with no funds to combat them; Doctors Without Borders “is an international medical humanitarian organization” which helps assist citizens who live in areas like Zimbabwe where diseases run rampant without government interference. This non-profit organization was created in 1971 in order to help people around the world who are plagued by epidemics and violence; many third-world countries are unable to sustain their own populations and are in desperate need of such aid. Zimbabwe itself is currently amidst the deadliest cholera outbreak in two decades because of the lack of proper sanitation and water supplies. Many doctors around the world have flown to such places, leaving the comfort of their Western way of life, in order to make a difference in the lives of these people who have been driven to the brink of survival.
While these specific descriptions of doctors are no longer what many people around the U.S. imagine when they bring up doctors, it still holds firm to my own beliefs. In a country where there are more lawsuits against doctors than praises for them, we need to remember that the entire purpose of a doctor is to save lives; this may not always be the case because of drastic circumstances, but they are true saviors in a time where many countries need them the most.
This post was contributed by Nicole White, who writes about ultrasound tech schools. She welcomes your feedback at Nicole.White222 at gmail.com