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Hostel emergency medicine in Iran
  1. Brona Geary
  1. Correspondence to Brona Geary, James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Blanchardstown, Thornhill, Ballyroe, Tralee 0000, Republic of Ireland; bronageary{at}yahoo.com

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There are few practitioners that can boast holidays where their technical skills, knowledge or patience have not been tried in some shape or form. I hold the perverse view that those few foolish enough to tick ‘Dr.’ on hotel check-in forms or airline log-ins are wanton prisoners of their profession. This opinion, held with almost messianic fervor, leaves me loathe to admit my true occupation to virtually any stranger encountered after leaving my front door: a time designated as the actual beginning of one's holiday. My cynicism views fellow passengers and those around me as potential hypochondriacs on the prowl for listenership. The prospect of spending a long-haul flight listening without contradicting or indeed feigning a smidgen of interest in perceived or actual physical or mental pathology (‘they just don't know what's wrong with me’) seems an invasion of my well-earned withdrawal. Degurufication is to be revered and enjoyed.

Thus, it is with some reticent shame that I give this account as a ‘photographer with a passing interest in first aid’. The setting is the beautiful Iranian city of Esfahan. As a major hub of the silk route, the location boasts a rich history. Architecturally, it is renowned for its majestic mosques comprising complex mosaics of aquamarine blues and turquoises, elegant wooden columns hewn of cedar wood and marble, and arrays of avenues punctuated by picturesque water fountains. The enormous dome of the Imam Mosque is a sight to behold: thin rays of light filter through holes in a keystone to shine upon the inner facing of a copula decorated with stars and arabesques. The tranquility here outside of prayer time is moving.

With decidedly little access to cash (trade embargos restrict overseas credit card transactions and Iranian Bank ATMs are not linked to overseas operators), this ill-prepared and ill-researched …

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