Heroism is an overused word, but there is something heroic about Ryuki Kassai’s description of watching the 2011 Japanese tsunami flood towards the hospital he was working in. “The earthquake was a terrible one—the strongest one that I have ever experienced. We could see the water coming to the foot of the hill. There was nothing to do but keep working.”
But how can medicine keep working in the midst of chaos? Medicine in the developed world has become inevitably and irretrievably technological. We rely on laboratories, scanners, and diagnostic tests, and, more fundamentally, on the electricity and infrastructure that keeps them ticking. How can doctors continue when all that is—quite literally—swept away?
Rebecca Ghani’s feature on p 10 gives some clues. What determines whether healthcare systems stay together or fall apart? It’s the little things, suggest the doctors she interviews. One GP explains how her practice kept functioning after