Twenty years ago, the most common cause of death for medical humanitarians and other aid workers was traffic accidents; today, it is violent attacks. And the death of each doctor, nurse, paramedic, midwife, and vaccinator is multiplied untold times in the vulnerable populations deprived of their care. In a 2005 report, the ICRC found that for every soldier killed in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, more than 60 civilians died due to loss of immunisations and other basic health services. The World's Emergency Room: The Growing Threat to Doctors, Nurses, and Humanitarian Workers documents this dangerous trend, demonstrates the urgent need to reverse it, and explores how that can be accomplished. Drawing on VanRooyen's personal experiences and those of his colleagues in international humanitarian medicine, he takes readers into clinics, wards, and field hospitals around the world where medical personnel work with inadequate resources under dangerous conditions to care for civilians imperiled by conflict.
VanRooyen undergirds these compelling stories with data and historical context, emphasizing how they imperil the key doctrine of medical neutrality, and what to do about it.
MICHAEL VANROOYEN is the co-founder and director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, and the vice chairman of emergency medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Over the past 25 years, he has served as an emergency physician in conflict zones and disaster areas in more thirty countries including Bosnia, Chad, Darfur-Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Iraq, North Korea, Rwanda, and Somalia.