Mekong Medicine

A U.S. Doctor’s Year Treating Vietnam’s Forgotten Victims

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About the Book

In 1966, Dr. Richard Carlson was just two years out of medical school and in his mid–20s. He was about to embark on a year-long tour in Vietnam to treat the many forgotten victims of the war: the civilians. During medical school he was introduced to the Los Angeles County General Hospital, the huge institution that provided medical care for LA’s socially and medically deprived. Dedicated to the underserved, when drafted he applied to work in a Vietnamese civilian hospital. His tenure at the LA county hospital was the best training for what he’d experience in Vietnam.
His arrival coincided with a bloody escalation of the conflict. But like many Americans, he believed South Vietnam desired a democratic future and that the U.S. was helping to achieve that goal. Armed with both his medical bag and a typewriter, Dr. Carlson diligently chronicled his efforts to save lives in the Mekong delta province of Bac Lieu. The result is a vivid recollection, detailing the inspiring stories of the AMA volunteer doctors, USAID nurses and corpsmen that he worked alongside to treat the local citizens, many of whom were Viet Cong. He gives a glimpse of the emerging understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder and his team’s development of a pioneering family planning clinic. Featuring more than 80 photographs, this book relates the fighting of both exotic and common diseases and the competition among civilians for medical services. The medical facilities and equipment were primitive, and the doctors’ efforts were often hampered by folk remedies and superstition.

About the Author(s)

Richard W. Carlson, MD, PhD, is a retired academic internal medicine and intensive care physician. He remains active in teaching and research and has published more than 300 scientific manuscripts and abstracts, edited or written eight medical textbooks and served in leadership roles in university and teaching institutions. He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Bibliographic Details

Richard W. Carlson, M.D.
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 80 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8789-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4602-2
Imprint: McFarland