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Medical News & Perspectives |

Fixing Femurs in a Rain Forest

Mike Mitka
JAMA. 1999;282(5):419-420. doi:10.1001/jama.282.5.419-JMN0804-2-1.
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Iquitos, Peru—Eugene Pflum, MD, always wanted to travel the Amazon River to see the natural wonders and beauty of the rain forest.

Because of that dream, one morning in June the orthopedic surgeon found himself aboard a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi stuck in traffic, surrounded by noise and exhaust fumes, headed for a hospital in a South American city of 350,000 people. He was in Iquitos, which sits near the junction of several rivers that merge to form the Amazon, because of another of his wishes—to perform medical mission work.

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Eugene Pflum, MD (left), and Gaston Barnechea, MD, chat in downtown Iquitos, Peru, a city of 350,000 people. (Photo credit: Mike Mitka)

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A port city on the Amazon, Iquitos is reachable only by boat or airplane. (Photo credit: Mike Mitka)

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The EsSalud Hospital in Iquitos is a 70-bed intermediate care facility. (Photo credit: Mike Mitka)

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