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    Dedicated to Erik Bøhler. Illustration Elin Karlsnes
    Dedicated to Erik Bøhler. Illustration Elin Karlsnes

    I’m reading a letter from a former associate

    Who has spent many years in Bhutan and Nepal

    Now the sole doctor in a hospital,

    His letter contains gripping stories

    Of a mother nearly bleeding to death postpartum

    The neighbours won’t donate blood, having none to spare

    The hospital staff steps in, four bagfuls are needed

    The placenta is removed manually

    Uterine atony. No halt to the bleeding even after injections

    It is stopped by a saltwater balloon

    The mother survives

    There, as elsewhere, two boys are beaten

    by their drunken father

    One dies, the youngest survives after heroic efforts

    A young man is picked up at a roadside

    with large, infected wounds, possibly sepsis

    Treated and recovered, he refuses a skin transplant

    These are excerpts from just one letter

    Others have equally gripping tales to tell

    I have lived in a sheltered world

    Working in well ordered surroundings

    Ringed by helping hands and heads

    By state-of-the-art technology

    I ask myself: Should I have done as he did?

    Sought out new challenges where knowledge is scarce?

    Would I feel better then

    When I have grown old

    Wondering how I spent my life?

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