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Essential tropical emergency medicine skills
  1. Brona Geary
  1. Dr B Geary, Emergency Department, James Connolly Hospital, Tralee, Republic of Ireland; bronageary{at}yahoo.com

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Those sandal-clad feet that splash and slap and negotiate the puddles across the 50 or so yards that separate my residence from the suffering and joy and pain and misery and fever and devotional hymn singing. The drums that rumble at an eternally elusive distance. Cicadas, noisy and invisible. The tropical storm that rages: the gods at play with their bowling balls clattering down the alleys of space-time. The swinging lantern that throws perforated impressions on my wall, illuminating the mosquito net and gaps between the window slats. The feet that wearily drag up the steps to pause before my door. The peering eyes. That invidious tap-tap at my bedroom door. Above it all, the poised hypodermic of a lightning rod at my doorpost. That address that once conferred such pride and invariable arrogance but now, at this moment, would gladly be transferred, denied or bestowed upon some more worthy and enthusiastic individual. “Dok-tore”.

I am a “general” medical officer. I think the title alone suggests the vagueness of one’s functions, where problems not solved elsewhere go to die an ignominious death. It is past midnight. I’m still in that warm fetal state of snooze …

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