Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 21, 2021
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Doctors’ dangerous behaviours

On medical missions, MDs routinely take risks

The popular image of the humanitarian physician may have to be amended somewhat. Yes, they perform heroic deeds and provide help to those who need it most, but a recent Red Cross survey reveals that as they struggle to protect their patients, they are also risking their own health with a shocking litany of dangerous behaviours: ignoring their medications, smoking like chimneys, using recreational drugs, having casual sex without protection, driving drunk. More than a quarter of Red Cross aid workers reported at least one risk-taking behaviour — though the study didn’t compare them to Médecins sans frontières workers, who are reputed to be a far wilder bunch. On the bright side, the survey revealed, they’re mostly wearing their seatbelts.

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