Skip to content

    Big Country, One Doctor

    Short blog tonight, as I sit in Port au Prince with having a beer with novelist Geert van der Kolk. He raises his eyebrow to the answer to his question: how many doctors are in Gran Bois, and how many people live there?

    The answer: about 65,000 people. One doctor, and two residents.

    Now the Dutch novelist and Dave, the Republican electrician, are debating the merits of publicly subsidized health care. That’s a big issue. But here on the ground, there’s no difference of opinion. We’re all doing the best we can for the person in front of us. That doesn’t mean scattering our few (or relatively many) dollars among everyone we meet. It means thinking, hard, about the long-term consequences of whatever you do for anyone. Give a local boy a dollar, and have you helped his family – or made him a beggar? What about the blind man with his hand out? What about the deserving but poor student who asks for nothing?

    Lots of choices. Very few answers. I feel very, very humble.

    Important:

    The opinions expressed in WebMD Second Opinion are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Second Opinion are... Expand

    Newsletters

    Subscribe to free WebMD newsletters.

    • WebMD Daily

      WebMD Daily

      Subscribe to the WebMD Daily, and you'll get today's top health news and trending topics, and the latest and best information from WebMD.

    • Men's Health

      Men's Health

      Subscribe to the Men's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, nutrition, and more from WebMD.

    • Women's Health

      Women's Health

      Subscribe to the Women's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, diet, anti-aging, and more from WebMD.

    By clicking Submit, I agree to the WebMD Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of WebMD subscriptions at any time.

    URAC Seal TRUSTe Privacy Certification TAG seal HONcode Seal AdChoices