Caregiving Around the Globe

I received this letter while I was teaching hand surgery for a few months at the University of Pretoria Hospital in South Africa. Written by one of my patients, a Portuguese fifteen-year-old army recruit whose right hand was badly injured in the 1975 Portuguese-Angolan Conflict. He penned the letter with his much-improved dominant hand.

Dr. Dawkins,

How are you. I hope you feel good there.

I’m good and I’m here in this hospital yet, but Dr. Dutoit said that maybe I go out next week. My hand is much better after this operation. Now, I can use it and write too. So I hope you understand it [the letter]. My thumb is quite well. Thanks a lot for finished fix[ing] my hand and thank you very much for all the operations you’ve done. 

The best for you from your patient Jose.

Thanks a lot,

One of the joys of an American surgeon
reaching out to the world in Pretoria, South Africa. 

Letter from a Portuguese patient to Dr. Dawkins after being treated from injuries sustained in the Angolan conflict (1975).

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