This is an easy-to-read paperback with interesting accompanying photographs. Its focus is one of the UK-based teams who have done considerable healthcare work in Nepal. Written by David Hawker, a British anaesthetist, we see the story unfold through his eyes. David describes his personal perspective of flights, mountains, surgical camps, anaesthesia, dal bhat, and reflections on the difference between life and healthcare in the UK and Nepal. But as the book progresses, we learn that at its heart, this is the story of Ellen Findlay, a remarkable woman.
With a background in nursing and midwifery, Ellen Findlay and her team led medical missions to some of Nepal’s isolated communities, where a lack of primary healthcare impacts local lives in numerous ways, including ear disease, and gynaecological injury. Ellen’s work was recognised with an MBE in 2003 and, despite challenges, hurdles, political uprisings and national disasters, the story ends with the establishment of specialist ear and gynaecology centres in 2015 in Pokhara, a popular tourist city in Nepal, to provide a base not only for essential surgical treatments, but also to train local surgeons, with a goal of providing employment and sustainability.
Ellen is not the only hero of the story! Mike Smith, a British ENT surgeon, has dedicated his life and career to ear care in Nepal, and the book includes numerous references to his brave decisions, surgical challenges, his family, and his outstanding commitment to his mission.
Medicine in the Mountains was a joy to read and would be of interest to anyone looking for a page-turner with themes of hope, commitment, service, and insights to beautiful, fascinating Nepal.